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from the Hightower Lowdown


"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country." - Thomas Jefferson

Dakota Scum--email 9/12/16

Remember the corporation trying to build a pipeline through native land in Dakota?

They've bought a judge who has okayed their plans, despite tribal protests which are growing daily--the biggest gathering of native peoples in a century,

.... and issued an arrest warrant for Dr. Jill Stein, presidential candidate, who was participating in the protest. And now, today's news: Arrest Warrant Issued for Journalist Amy Goodman for Coverage of Dakota Access Pipeline.

As a big corporation, nothing is below these people.

"criminal, n. A person with predatory instincts who has not sufficient capital to form a corporation": Howard Scott

"It is also in the interests of a tyrant to keep his people poor, so that they may not be able to afford the cost of protecting themselves by arms and be so occupied with their daily tasks that they have no time for rebellion."- Aristotle in Politics, J. Sinclair translation, pg. 226, 1962

" is a government by the corporations, for the corporations."--Rutherford B. Hayes19th President of the USA.

"Corporation, n. An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility.''-Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

"Of all forms of tyranny the least attractive and the most vulgar is the tyranny of mere wealth, the tyranny of plutocracy" ---John Pierpont Morgan

"But that's the whole point of corporatism: to try and remove the public from making decisions over their own fate, to limit the public arena, to control opinion, to make sure that the fundamental decisions that determine how the world is going to be run -which include production, commerce, distribution, thought, social policy, foreign policy, everything-are not in the hands of the public, but rather in the hands of highly concentrated private power. In effect, tyranny unaccountable to the public".- Professor Noam Chomsky, interviewed in Corporate Watch

"Can it be believed that the democracy which overthrew the feudal system and vanquished kings will retreat before tradesmen and capitalists?" Alexis de Tocqueville1805-1859

"A recent Harris Interactive poll showed that about 90 percent of the American public believes that big business has too much power" (Matthew Rothschild. "Condolences." The Progressive, Feb, 2006: 4).

"The United States spends over $87 billion conducting a war in Iraq while the United Nations estimates that for less than half that amount we could provide clean water, adequate diets, sanitations services and basic education to every person on the planet. And we wonder why terrorists attack us." - John Perkins, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

"...consumer culture's pseudo-democratic claim that satisfying consumers' every desire was the equivalent of universal justice and fairness. By analyzing and weaving together the export, to Europe, of chain stores, big-brand goods, corporate advertising and PR, the Hollywood star system, the supermarket, and the ideal of the wife as "Mrs. Consumer," de Grazia makes us see the incremental yet sweeping success of consumer culture abroad" (Susan J. Douglas. "Our Favorite Books of 2005." The Progressive, Dec. 2005: 46).

"The ratio of average CEO pay (now $11.8 million) to worker pay (now $27,460) spiked up from 301-to-1 in 2003 to 431-to-1 in 2004, reports United for a Fair Economy. If the minimum wage had risen as fas as CEO pay since 1990, the lowest paid workers in the US would be earning $23.03 an hour today, not $5.15 an hour" ("CEO Inflation." The Progressive, Nov. 2005: 11).

Issues Addressed by this Team
Wasteful military spending, nuclear proliferation, the expansion of US Special Forces operations, increasing use of drones for both strikes and surveillance, the continued growth of the US global military presence, human rights abuses, secret training camps, and the use of terrorism as an opportunity for global military expansion.

"Consumers, farmers, environmentalists, and other sane people ''t want the Monsantos to use us as their guinea pigs, so they have already gotten more than 100 local governments to ban GMO crops within their area. This has infuriated the corporate powers, who have spent tons of money to defeat these local bans--but lost. So, for the last couple of years, they've been sneaking off to state legislatures to pass laws (often with no debate) that take aaway our local control over this health issue. To date, 14 states have stripped this decision-making power from local people; corporate lobbyists are moving to take it away from local governments everywhere" (Jim Hightower. "" Texas Observer, April 21, 2006: 15).

"I've come across the website of America's largest, oldest, busiest, and most successful corporation. At least, that's how this outfit defines itself. It's not Wal-Mart, Exxon Mobil, or GM--it's the Pentagon. Go to and you'll find "DoD 101: An introductory overview of the Department of Defense." This official site present the US military not as a government agency, but as a corporation. The Pentagon puffs itself up like a corporation running an image ad. It brags that the DoD is "the nation's largest employer, and that it has the highest level of annual revenues of any company in the country. The site points out that DoD Inc. far outdistances such competitors as Wal-Mart, the number two employer and revenue generator...

"Excuse me, but our government is not a business. It's a government with broad and deep democratic responsibilities that no corporation can achieve. By their very nature, corporations are top-down, hierarchical operations that exist not to serve the public good, but to profit the few. They are anti-democratic, excluding the vast majority of people (including the shareholders) from decision-making. They operate in a closed culture of secrecy and are aggressive expansionists, relying on PR, lawyers, and lobbyists to cover up their waste, fraud, corruption, environmental contamination, and abuse of people. The corporate model is anathema to a free, just, democratic society" (Jim Hightower. "" Texas Observer, April 21, 2006: 15).

"...a Kansas corporation called Westar Energy, Inc... wanted an exemption from a federal regulation and hoped to have its exemption slipped into an energy bill.. the [company] Veep bluntly named the price: "The total package will be $31,500 in hard money (individual) and $25,000 in soft money (corporate)." He then identified the four Congress critter who named the price--Reps. Tom DeLay, Joe Barton, Billy Tauzin, and Sen. Richard Shelby. The money was paid--and sure enough, Rep. Barton slipped Westar's exemption into the bill...

And Corporate Reform?

"We're really teaching those high-flying CEOs a lesson in corporate ethics, aren't we? The latest to have to take their medicine are six former top execs at Xerox Corporation. The SEC recently determined that they cooked the company books and illegally inflated profits by $1.4 billion over four years, fraudulently misleading investors and allowing themselves to pocket millions in undeserved personal pay. But the SEC regulators have now socked the slippery-fingered six with $22 million in penalties! But under the sweetheart corporation bylaws, $19 million of this legal assessment will be picked up not by the executives, but by Xerox and its insurance companies --plus, Xerox will pay the legal fees for the six.

"So it's you shareholders of Xerox and you ratepayers of the insurers who'll pick up the bulk of the tab. Ultimately we taxpayers will be hit for it, since Xerox can deduct a chunk from its corporate income tax as a cost of doing business. Crime pays! Paul Allaire, for example, was the Xerox CEO who presided over this shameful ripoff, and he has to pay a million-dollar fine out of his own pocket. That sounds like a serious bit of punishment... until you do the math. The SEC found that he had put $5.7 million worth of fraudulent gain in that pocket during the four-year scam. His haul is a net of $4.7 million--good work if you can get it!"

"That child [sent to Iraq] is ours. He does not belong to the neocons. They ''t care who these kids are. They demand warm bodies to send into this black hole they created. I will spend every breath of my life working to get that lowlife fratboy dragged out of the White House in chains.." (Letters. The Nation. April 5, 2004, 23).

"...while hundreds of Americans and thousands of Iraqies have died in the combat for dubious objectives, American corporate interests are rollicking as they count their war profits...

"The corporate free-for-all has proven to be quite expensive for U.S. taxpayers. We pay American engineers 10 times the amount normally charged by their Iraqi counterparts.

"...the administration... has jettisoned basic safeguards like competition and supervision that are needed to protect the public interest" ("A Corporate Free-For-All Becomes a Fee for All." The Washington Spectator. July 15, 2004: 1).

"Now five former employees and one former executive have come forward to describe serious examples of Halliburton's waste and fraud in Iraq...

"...brand-new trucks worth $85,000 were aban'ed if they got a flat tire or experienced minor mechanical problems.

"...employees spent weeks in Iraq with virtually nothing to do, they were instructed to bill 12-hour days 7 days a week on their time sheets.

"...rampant overcharging and mismanagement... the company refused to comply with the Army's request to move its employees from a five-star hotel in Kuwait -- which cost U.S. taxpayers about $10,000 a day -- into air-conditioned tent facilities that cost less than $600 a day... total losses due to waste and fraud... could amount to billions" ("A Corporate Free-For-All Becomes a Fee for All." The Washington Spectator. July 15, 2004: 3).

"Fact is that Nike doesn't lower the price on its shoes just because it pays workers in Indo-someplace a dollar a day, instead of the $10 an hour it used to pay U.S. workers. No, Nike simply pockets their savings. Also, if "Momma" hadn't had her middle-class job offshored by the likes of Nike, she wouldn't be poor---and then she could afford those $50 shoes made in America" (Jim Hightower. Hightower Lowdown. June 2004: 2).

"...Syracuse University analyzed IRS data and found a sharp decline in action against corporate tax cheats under Bush, with fewer audits, fewer prosecutions, and fewer penalties... IRS audits of the largest corporations have fallen almost by half" (Jim Hightower. The hightower Lowdown, June 2004:4).

"Every December for the past nineteen years, marchers in Bhopal, India, have paraded an iffigy of Warren Anderson through town and burned it. Anderson is despised because he was the CEO of Union Carbide on December 3, 1984, when an explosion at the company's Bhopal factory leaked deadly methyl isocyanate gas over the city's shantytowns in the worst industrial disaster in history. The exact death toll will never be known -- many corpses were disposed of in emergency mass burials or cremations without adequate documentation -- but the Indian government now puts the total at more than 22,000 and climbing...

"...Bee and Shukla are leading the fight to hold Union Carbide and its new owner, Dow Chemical, accountable for the Bhopal disaster, which the two women assert is still killing and injuring thousands of people a year through poisoned groundwater... A 1999 study commissioned by Greepeace International but conducted by independent scientists concluded that Bhopal's groundwater contains heavy metals, volatile chemicals and levels of mercury millions of timems higher than is considered safe...

" Indian court reinstated criminal charges against Union Carbide and Warren Anderson in 1991. When neither the corporation nor Anderson showed up for trial, they were declared fugitives from justice. The Indian government is now seeking their extradition, but Washington has not honored the request..." (Mark Hertsgaard. "Bhopal's Legacy." The Nation, May 24, 2004: 6-7).

"In early 2002, Erle Nye was the toast of the business world. As chief executive of TXU, he had managed to keep the Dallas-based, multibillion-dollar energy firm healthy and profitable at a time when many other energy companies stewed in disarray...

"But despite all the happy talk, TXU was actually careening toward bankruptcy. Just three months after that upbeat July earnings report, TXU abruptly disclosed that its European subsidiary had glaring financial problems. Executives were forced to sell off the European outfit at a $4 billion loss. The price of TXU stock plummeted 75 percent, and many elderly shareholders saw their life savings vanish in a matter of days...

"One of the lawsuits... is a whistleblower claim filed by a former TXU senior vice president. It is believed to be the first case to test the whistleblower protections of the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act passed by Congress in response to the Enron fiasco. If the accusations are correct, then TXU violated the very laws designed to prevent another Enron..." (Dave Mann. "Power Players." Texas Observer, 9/10/04: 4-7)

"The coup d'etats of the twenty-first century will follow the Argentine model, in which the international banks seize the financial lifeblood of a nation, making the official presidential title holder merely inconsequential except as a factotum of the corporate agenda" (Greg Palast. The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. NY: Plume, 2003: 199).

Venezuela represented a threatening example that could not be allowed to succeed" (199).

"An lastly, there is the all-important propaganda war aimed at U.S. citizens to ensure that Americans remain ignorant and quiescent when a democratically elected president is assassinated, overthrown or houded from office" (Greg Palast. The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. NY: Plume, 2003: 200).

"America regulates industry like no other nation on Earth -- and for good reason. America tried it the other way, hoping the marketplace would reward enlightened producers and drive out the rogues. Not a chance...

"Andrew Jackson ran for president on the platform of outlawing that dangerous new concoction called the "corporations"" (227).

"Jackson and his ally, Thomas Jefferson, feared this faceless, heartless creature made of stock certificates. Before the advent of the stockholder corporation, business owners had names and faces. They could be held personally accountable for their evils before courts or mobs... But, ran Jackson's manifest, "Corporations have neither bodies to kick nor souls to damn." President Jackson could not stop the corporate dreadnought. Instead... Jackson established government regulation as the means by which the democracy would impose a sense of morality upon these amoral entities" (Greg Palast. The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. NY: Plume, 2003: 228).

"Victims' rights are under attack. Waving the banner of "Tort Reform," corporate America has funded an ad campaign portraying enterpreneurs held hostage by frivolous lawsuits. But proposed remedies stink of special exemptions from justice...

"The tort reformers' line is that fee-hungry lawyers are hawking bogus fears, poisoning Americans' faith in the basic decency of the business community..." (235).

"...the massive increase in litigation has a single cause: a corporate civil crime wave" (Greg Palast. The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. NY: Plume, 2003: 233).

"Since 2001 corporate profits are up 70 percent, and CEOs are diverting America's investment capital into buying out their competitors, shrinking both jobs and consumer choice" (Ed. by Jim Hightower and Phillip Frazer. "More Brand Names Behind the Bush Agenda." Hightower Lowdown, Feb., 2005: 3).

"These days, we tend to take the principle of limited liability [corporate owners and managers are not held responsible for the crimes they commit] for granted. However, for a few centuries after its invention in the sixteenth century... it tended to be regarded with great suspicion...

"Adam Smith argued that limited liability would lead to shirking by managers... an important cause of financial speculation. Britain banned the formation of new limited liability companies on these grounds with the Bubble Act of 1720...

" liability provides one of the most powerful mechanisms to "socialize risk" [read "steal from the common people"], which has made possible investments in unprecedented scale. That is why, despite its potential to creatte "moral hazard," all societies have come to accept limited liability as a cornerstone of modern corporate governance" (86)...

Anti-Trust Laws

"Contrary to what is assumed in much current literature on the subject, corporate governance is not simply a matter internal to the corporation in question. Actions by very large firms with significant market power can have consequences for the whole economy... In this context, corporate governance becomes a matter for society as a whole...

"...the most easily identifiable institution of "societal" corporate governance, namely, competition law (anti-monopoly and/or anti-trust legislation)...

"The USA was the pioneer in "modern" competition law... the Sherman Antitrust Act in 1890... it was in fact mainly used against labour unionsrather than against large corporations" (Ha-Joon Chang. Kicking Away the Ladder: Developement Strategy in Historical Perspective. Lon': Anthem Press, 2002. page 91).

"The world's largest gold mining company has gone on trial in In'esia accused of dumping millions of tonnes of mercury and arsenic-based pollutants in a picturesque bay, causing villagers to develop skin diseases.

"The case against the US-owned Newmont Mining Company is being closely watched by investors and environmentalists, who are waiting to see whether the In'esian government will be prepared to punish a multinational company" (John Aglionby. "Gold mining giant in court." Guardian Weekly, Aug. 12, 2005: 10).

"Bernard Ebbers, the former chief executive of WorldCom, was jailed for 25 years for his role in the $11bn fraud that drove the US firm into the largest bankruptcy in corporate history...

"Enron agreed to pay up to $1.5bn to settl allegations that it manipulated the energy markets for its own gain during the blackout crisis of 2000-01 on America's west coast("News In Brief." Guardian Weekly, July 28, 2005: 27). [Corporations claimed legal personhood, so why isn't Enron--or at least its officers and board of trustees--in jail for such highjinks?]

"Israel's Teva Pharmaceutical Industries is buying Miami-based Ivax Corp for $7.4bn to create the world's largest generic drug company" ("News in Brief." Guardian Weekly, Aug.4, 2005: 25).

"The recent conflict over what America eats, and the way the government promotes food, is a disturbing example of how in Bush's America corporate interests trump public health, public opinion and plain old common sense...

"...July 14-15, when the Federal Trade Commission held hearings on childhood obesity and food marketing... FTC chair Deborah Majoras had declared beforehand that the commission will do absolutely nothing to stop the rising flood of junk food advertising to children. In June the Department of Agriculture denied a request from our group Commercial Alert to enforce existing rules forbidding mealtime sales in school cafeterias of "foods of minimal nutritional value"--ie., junk foods and soda pop...

"...late 2001, when a Surgeon General's report called obesity an "epidemic"...

"... the President's Council on Physical Fitness... partners with... Coca-Cola, Burger King, General Mills, Pepsico and other blue chip members of the "obesity lobby"...

"Not a lot of subtlety is required to understand what's driving Administration policy. It's large infusions of cash...

"For their money, the industry has been able to buy into a strategy on obesity and food marketing that mirrors the approach taken by Big Tobacco... denial that the problem (obesity) is caused by the product (junk food). Instead, lack of exercise is fingered as the culprit... the fault not of food marketers but of parents" (Gary Ruskin and Juliet Schor. "Junk Food Nation." The Nation, Sep. 5, 2005: 15-17).

"Over the course of about twenty years, Texaco dumped some 18 billion gallons of oil and toxic waste into Ecuador's lakes and streams, contaminating groundwater, rivers and fisheries and causing hundreds of Ecuadorians to die of strange cancers, according to the plaintiffs. Their lawyers and scientific experts insist it's the worst oil-related contamination in the world today--thirty times larger than the Exxon Valdez spill" (Daphne Eviatar. "The high cost of oil." The Nation, Aug. 8, 2005: 28).

"Within the corporate culture in general, achievement is no longer connected to reward or failure to punishment. CEOs routinely see their earnings rise by millions while their companies' stock plummets. Meanwhile, at lower levels in the hierarchy, white collar folks get laid off simply because they have been successful enough to make their salaries a tempting cost cut. Thus, the relationship between accomplishments and success seems to have been inverted. "Wall Stree has traditionally rewarded people who succeeded," a consultant on executive pay tole The New York Times. "Now they are rewarding people who fail"" (Barbara Ehrenreich. "Perverse Rewards." The Progressive, Sep. 2005: 20-21).

Getty Museum Knowingly Buys Stolen Art

"The world's richest art institution knowingly bought scores of archaeological treasures looted from Italy, it has been alleged.

"Despite being warned as far back as 1985 that dealers were selling stolen goods, the Getty Museum in Los Angeles continued to buy them. The practice continued for so long that, according to the museum's internal review, almost half the masterpieces in its antiquities collection are likely to have been acquired illegally.

"New evidence of the scale of what Italy is calling "the Getty scandal" emerged on Monday, painting a picture of the favulously wealthy institution riding roughshod over a ban on taking Italy's historic treasures out of the country" (Barbara McMahon. "Getty Museum 'knowlingly bought archaeological treasures stolen from Italy'". Guardian Weekly, Sep. 30: 7).

News Articles

Income inequality is rising so fast our data can’t keep up, 2-21-19

(Illustration by Christopher Ingraham for the Washington Post/Illustration
by Christopher Ingraham for the Washington Post)

Wages at the top of the income distribution continue to rise much more rapidly than wages for everyone else, according to an analysis of the latest federal data by the Economic Policy Institute, a progressive think tank.

But the data are just as notable for what they don’t say, according to the report by EPI economist Elise Gould. Increases in wages at the top are outpacing economists’ ability to measure them because the federal survey tracking the wage data “top-codes” the highest earnings amounts: For confidentiality reasons, wages are fully recorded only up to a certain threshold. The Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau, which jointly administer the survey, haven’t changed that threshold in 20 years, even as top incomes have skyrocketed. As a result, the survey is capturing less information on top pay than it used to.

Democratic Rep. Casten forces Wells Fargo CEO to admit Republican tax cuts covered fraud fines, 3-12-19 WP

Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan is being questioned by the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday. Sloan is the first of probably many banking heads to be brought in to meet with the Democratically controlled House to discuss the economic status of the banking industry right now. Democratic Rep. Sean Casten of Illinois asked Sloan whether his bank’s series of fraudulent actions, costing U.S. citizens billions of dollars, were being washed away by the Republican tax cuts.

email from Corporate Accountability, 1-31-19

From Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Lagos, Nigeria, water corporations are looking to profit from our most basic and necessary right: clean water at affordable rates. And when corporations privatize water systems all too often rates go up, workers’ rights are trampled, and cost-cutting measures pad corporate profits while jeopardizing human health and safety.

That’s why we partnered with Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria to convene a national summit on the human right to water that just wrapped up yesterday in Abuja, Nigeria.

Water justice campaigners, policy experts, allied organizations, and government officials from Nigeria, the U.S., and around the globe gathered to discuss strategies to ensure that corporations can’t profit from our most basic human right: water.

By connecting people and strategy from crucial sites for water justice around the world, we began to chart a path forward: for victory in Lagos and for the global campaign advancing the human right to water.


Earlier this month, the Supreme Court rejected Exxon’s latest attempt to avoid accountability for its decades of climate deception. It ruled in favor of Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, clearing the way for a probe of Exxon’s internal documents to unearth exactly how it misled the public and policymakers on climate change. This is a huge victory for the movement to protect democracy and our climate from Big Polluters -- and we need more states involved. Urge your state’s attorney general to join the investigation into what #ExxonKnew. Or, if you live in Massachusetts, thank Attorney General Healey for her leadership.


Andrew Wheeler, Donald Trump’s pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is yet another corporate shill, this time for none other than the coal industry. He spent years working as a lobbyist for the largest coal mining conglomerate in the United States. On his watch, the EPA will complete its transformation into the Environmental Pollution Agency, allowing polluters to destroy our planet for profit. You can stop Big Polluters’ takeover of the EPA. Urge your senator: Vote NO on Andrew Wheeler.


While huge corporations rake in record profits, their workers struggle to make ends meet. Corporations, and the politicians they hold sway over, have blocked any attempt to raise the U.S. federal minimum wage for over 10 years, resulting in wages that don’t keep pace with the cost of living. But a growing movement of workers has raised their voices to demand a $15 an hour minimum wage. And thanks to their organizing, there’s a bill in Congress right now that would do just that. Urge your members of Congress to take action and raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Where Is The Outrage Over Corporate Welfare? Forbes by David Brunori

I recently read the February 24 Good Jobs First report, “Subsidizing the Corporate One Percent,” by Philip Mattera, a respected thought leader in our business. It says that three-quarters of all state economic development subsidies went to just 965 corporations since the beginning of the study in 1976. The Fortune 500 corporations alone accounted for more than 16,000 subsidy awards, worth $63 billion – mostly in the form of tax breaks.

Think about that. The largest, wealthiest, most powerful organizations in the world are on the public dole. Where is the outrage? Back when I was young, people went into a frenzy at the thought of some unemployed person using food stamps to buy liquor or cigarettes. Ronald Reagan famously campaigned against welfare queens. The right has always been obsessed with moochers. But Boeing receives $13 billion in government handouts and everyone yawns, when conservatives should be grabbing their pitchforks.

According to Good Jobs First, there are 514 economic development programs in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. More than 245,000 awards have been granted under those programs. I ask again, where is the outrage? The system is antithetical to the idea of free markets. A quarter of a million times, state governments decided what is best for producers and consumers. That should make us cringe.

But more importantly, those 514 economic development programs are almost all the result of insidious cronyism. Narrow business interests manipulate government policymakers, and those interests prosper to the detriment of everyone else. Free markets be damned.

And while I’m looking for outrage, where are the liberals? The 965 companies in the report received over $110 billion of public money. Berkshire Hathaway, a company with $485 billion in assets and $20 billion in profits, received over $1 billion of that money. Its chair, Warren Buffett, is worth about $58 billion. Buffett, by the way, is still a darling of the left. He has some nerve to call for higher taxes. The billion dollars his companies took would pay for a lot of teachers, healthcare, and other public goods.

I don’t blame the corporations. They act rationally. If someone gives you $1 billion, you take it. The blame lies with us. The sheer size of the corporate welfare system should spark outrage whether we are conservatives, liberals, or libertarians. And that outrage should be reflected in how we vote. In the meantime, kudos to Good Jobs First for continuing to highlight this problem.

The Monsanto–Bayer tie-up is just one of seven; Mega-Mergers and Big Data Domination Threaten Seeds, Food Security GMI

Policymakers could still block the agribiz mergers; peasants and farmers will continue the fight for seeds and rights.

Wednesday’s confirmation that Monsanto and Bayer have agreed to a $66 billion merger is just the latest of four M&A announcements, but at least three more game-changing mergers are in play (and flying under the radar). The acquisition activity is no longer just about seeds and pesticides but about global control of agricultural inputs and world food security.

Anti-competition regulators should block these mergers everywhere, and particularly in the emerging markets of the Global South, as the new mega companies will greatly expand their power and outcompete national enterprises. Four of the world’s top 10 agrochemical purchasing countries are in the global South and account for 28% of the world market.[1] If some of these throw up barriers, shareholders will rebel against the deals regardless of decisions in Washington or Brussels.

"These deals are not just about seeds and pesticides, but also about who will control Big Data in agriculture," says Pat Mooney of ETC Group, an International Civil Society Organization headquartered in Canada that monitors agribusiness and agricultural technologies. "The company that can dominate seed, soil and weather data and crunch new genomics information will inevitably gain control of global agricultural inputs – seeds, pesticides, fertilizers and farm machinery."

Neth Daño, ETC's Asia Director, continues, "Farmers and regulators should be watching out for the seventh M&amb;A – John Deere and Company’s bid to merge its Big Data expertise with Monsanto-owned Precision Planting LLD. After the Bayer-Monsanto merger, it's not clear whether Precision Planting will go to Deere and Co. or if Bayer will protect its future in agricultural data." Daño, based in the Philippines, points out that "Deere started connecting its farm machinery to GPS in 2001 and since then has invested heavily in sensors that can track and adjust seed, pesticide and fertilizer inputs meter by meter. The company has 15 years of historic data as well as access to terabytes of other weather, production and market data. Quite literally, Deere and the other farm machinery companies (the top three account for half of the world market) own the box in which the other input enterprises have to dump their products. That means Deere also owns the information."

Silvia Ribeiro, Director of ETC's Latin American office, agrees that the latest news confirming Monsanto agreement has "created alarm throughout Latin America and raised big concerns about increased input prices, more privatization of research and huge pressure from these Giant companies to make laws and regulations in our countries that allow them to dominate markets, crush farmers' rights and make peasant seeds illegal."

Ethiopia – A Case Study in Take-Over by Western Interests By Peter Koenig, September 11, 2018

Ethiopia is a landlocked country, bordering on Somalia which is dominating the Horn of Africa. Due to several border conflicts during the past decades with Somalia, many of them supportive of Ethiopia by the US military, the border between the two countries has become porous and ill-defined. Ethiopia is also bordering on Djibouti, where the United States has a Naval Base, Camp Lemonnier, next to Djibouti’s international airport. The base is under AFRICOM, the Pentagon’s African Command. AFRICOM has its boots in Ethiopia, as it does in many other African countries.

Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, has already demonstrated that he is poised to hand over his country to western interests, vultures, such as the World Bank, IMF and eventually the globalized Wall Street banking clan. In fact, it looks like these institutions were instrumental in manipulating parliamentary maneuvers, with arm-twisting of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) to make Mr. Abyi the new Prime Minister, succeeding Mr. Hailemariam Desalegn, who rather suddenly was forced to resign in February 2018, amidst endless foreign induced protests and violent street demonstrations. With EPRDF Ethiopia is a de facto one-party state. EPRDF is a coalition of different regional representations.

Proud Ethiopia, has never been colonized by western powers per se, except for a brief Italian military occupation (1935 – 1939) by Mussolini. And now, in the space of a few months, since Mr. Abiy’s ascent to power, the country is being enslaved by the new western colonial instruments, the so-called international development institutions, the World Bank, IMF – and others will follow.

Mr. Abiy is an Oromo leader; Oromia being a disputed area between Ethiopia and Somalia. The latter is effectively controlling the Horn of Africa, overseeing the Gulf of Aden (Yemen) and the entire Iran controlled Persian Gulf area. Control over the Horn of Africa is on Washington’s strategic wish list and may have become an attainable target, with the Oromo leader and new PM, Abiy Ahmed.

Think about it – Yemen, another ultra-strategic location, being bombed to ashes by the Saudis on behalf of the western powers, primarily the US and the UK, being subdued for domination by the west wanting to control the Gulf area, foremost Iran and her riches. On the other hand, Ethiopia, a prime location as an assault basis for drones, war planes and ships.

The Lords of Creation: The History of America's 1 Percent by Frederick Lewis Allen

A “stimulating” account of the capitalists who changed America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, setting the stage for the 1929 crash and Great Depression (Kirkus Reviews).

In the decades following the Civil War, America entered an era of unprecedented corporate expansion, with ultimate financial power in the hands of a few wealthy industrialists who exploited the system for everything it was worth. The Rockefellers, Fords, Morgans, and Vanderbilts were the “lords of creation” who, along with like-minded magnates, controlled the economic destiny of the country, unrestrained by regulations or moral imperatives. Through a combination of foresight, ingenuity, ruthlessness, and greed, America’s giants of industry remolded the US economy in their own image. They established their power and authority, ensuring that they—and they alone—would control the means of production, transportation, energy, and commerce—creating the conditions for the stock market collapse of 1929 and the Great Depression that followed.

As modern society continues to be affected by wealth inequality and cycles of boom and bust, it’s as important as ever to understand the origins of financial disaster, and the policies, practices, and people who bring them on. The Lords of Creation, first published when the catastrophe of the 1930s was still painfully fresh, is a fascinating story of bankers, railroad tycoons, steel magnates, speculators, scoundrels, and robber barons. It is a tale of innovation and shocking exploitation—and a sobering reminder that history can indeed repeat itself.

us against corporate power, email from Tricia Rich,, 8/20/18

What a year we’re having. It doesn’t matter which way you turn, in 2018 corporations have been using their money and might to trample over communities, democracy, and our planet.

From Facebook’s blatant disregard for our privacy and our democracy. To Bayer’s court battle to keep profiting from bee-killing pesticides.

From Microsoft coining it in off the back of the most heinous treatment of migrants in the US. To PepsiCo still guzzling palm oil at the expense of the last remaining orangutans.

Is Capitalism Killing Us? By Paul Craig Roberts August 17, 2018

A strong case can be made that this is the situation we currently face.

Ecological economists, such as Herman E. Daly, stress that as the external costs of pollution and resource exhaustion are not included in Gross Domestic Product, we do not know whether an increase in GDP is a gain or a loss.

External costs are huge and growing larger. Historically, manufacturing and industrial corporations, corporate farming, city sewer systems, and other culprits have passed the costs of their activities onto the environment and third parties. Recently, there has been a spate of reports with many centering on Monsanto’s Roundup, whose principle ingredient, glyphosate, is believed to be a carcinogen.

A public health organization, the Environmental Working Group, recently reported that its tests found glyphosate in all but 2 of 45 children’s breakfast foods including granola, oats and snack bars made by Quaker, Kellogg and General Mills.

In Brazil tests have discovered that 83% of mothers’ breast milk contains glyphosate.

The Munich Environmental Institute reported that 14 of the most widely selling German beers contain glyphosate

Glyphosate has been found in Mexican farmers’ urine and in Mexican ground water.

Scientific American has reported that even Roundup’s “inert ingredients can kill human cells, particularly embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells.”

A German toxicologist has accused the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment and the European Food Safety Authority of scientific fraud for accepting a Monsanto-led glyphosate Task Force conclusion that glyphosate is not a carcinogen.

Controversy about these findings comes from the fact that industry-funded scientists report no link between glyphosate and cancer, whereas independent scientists do. This is hardly surprising as an industry-funded scientist has no independence and is unlikely to conclude the opposite of what he is hired to conclude.

The point is that if glyphosate is carcinogenic, the cost of the lost lives and medical expenses are not borne by Monsanto/Bayer. If these costs were not external to Monsanto, that is, if the corporation had to bear these costs, the cost of the product would not be economical to use. Its advantages would be out-weighed by the costs.

It is very difficult to find the truth, because politicians and regulatory authorities are susceptible to bribes and to doing favors for their business friends. In Brazil, lawmakers are actually trying to deregulate pesticide use and to ban the sale of organic food in supermarkets.

In the case of glyphosate, the tide might be turning against Monsanto/Bayer. The California Supreme Court upheld the state’s authority to add the herbicide glyphosate to its Proposition 65 list of carcinogens.

Last week in San Francisco jurors awarded a former school groundkeeper $289 million in damages for cancer caused by Roundup. Little doubt that Monsanto will appeal and the case will be tied up in court until the groundkeeper is dead. But it is a precedent and indicates that jurors are beginning to distrust hired science. There are approximately 1,000 similar cases pending.

What is important to keep in mind is that if Roundup is a carcinogen, it is just one product of one company. This provides an idea of how extensive external costs can be. Indeed, glyphosate’s deletarious effects go far beyond those covered in this article.

GMO feeds are also taking a toll on livestock.

Now consider the adverse effects on air, water, and land resources of chemical agriculture. Florida is suffering algae blooms from chemical fertilizer runoff from farmland, and the sugar industry has done a good job of destroying Lake Okeechobee.

Fertilizer runoffs cause blue-green algae blooms that kill marine life and are hazzardous to humans. Currently the water in Florida’s St. Lucie River is 10 times too toxic to touch.

Red tides can occur naturally, but fertilizer runoffs fuel their growth and their persistance. Moreover, pollution’s contributions to higher temperatures also contribute to red tides, as does draining wetlands for real estate development, which results in water moving quickly without natural filtration.

As water conditions deteriorated and algae blooms proliferated, Florida’s response was to cutback its water monitoring program

When we consider these extensive external costs of corporate farming, clearly the values attributed to sugar and farm products in the Gross Domestic Product are excessive. The prices paid by consumers are much too low and the profits enjoyed by corporate agriculture are far too high, because they do not include the costs of the massive marine deaths, the lost tourist business, and the human illnesses caused by the algae tides that depend on chemical fertilizer runoff.

In this article I have barely scratched the surface of the problem of external costs. Michigan has learned that its tap water is not safe. Chemicals used for decades on military bases and in the manufacture of thousands of consumer items are in the water supply.

As an exercise, pick any business and think about the external costs of that business. Take, for example, the US corporations that offshored Americans’ jobs to Asia. The corporations’ profits rose, but the federal, state, and local tax bases declined. The payroll tax base for Social Security and Medicaid declined, putting these important foundations of US social and political stability into danger. The tax base for school teachers’ and other government employees’ pensions declined. If the corporations that moved the jobs abroad had to absorb these costs, they would have no profits. In other words, a few people gained by shoving enormous costs on everyone else.

Or consider something simple like a pet store. All the pet store owners and customers who sold and purchased colorful 18 to 24 inch pythons, boa constrictors, and anacondas gave no thought to the massive size these snakes would be, and neither did the regulatory agencies that permitted their import. Faced with a creature capable of devouring the family pet and children and suffocating the life out of large strong adults, the snakes were dumped into the Everglades where they have devastated the natural fauna and now are too numerous to be controlled. The external costs easily exceed many times the total price of all such snakes sold by pet stores.

Ecological economists stress that capitalism works in an “empty economy,” where the pressure of humans on natural resources is slight. But capitalism doesn’t work in a “full economy” where natural resources are on the point of exhaustion. The external costs associated with economic growth as measured by GDP can be more costly than the value of the output.

A strong case can be made that this is the situation we currently face. The disappearance of species, the appearance of toxins in food, beverages, water, mothers’ breast milk, air, land, desperate attempts to secure energy from fracking which destroys groundwater and causes earthquakes, and so forth are signs of a hard-pressed planet. When we get right down to it, all of the profits that capitalism has generated over the centuries are probably due to capitalists not having to cover the full cost of their production. They passed the cost on to the environment and to third parties and pocketed the savings as profit.

Update: Herman Daly notes that last year the British medical journal, Lancet, estimated the annual cost of pollution was about 6 % of the global economy whereas the annual global economic growth rate was about 2 percent, with the difference being about a 4% annual decline in wellbeing, not a 2 percent rise. In other words, we could already be in the situation where economic growth is uneconomical.

Corporate Hall of Shame

email from People For the American Way, 8/18/18

Here are just a few of the nominees on the ballot:

Koch Industries -- for working to dismantle the EPA in the name of fossil fuel profits, while the Koch Brothers' network aims to pour a record-breaking $400 million into influencing the 2018 U.S. midterm elections.

Goldman Sachs -- for continuing to exploit people in Puerto Rico, despite the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria, through predatory loans that squeeze maximum corporate profits from the island and its people.

GEO Group (one of the nation's largest private prison companies) -- for profiting from the mass incarceration of people of color and immigrants at its private prisons, while spending millions on lobbying and elections to pass laws that enable its profiteering.

Beretta -- for profiting richly from manufacturing weapons and using those profits to fund the NRA and its obstruction of popular, commonsense gun safety measures that would save countless lives.

Here’s a good corporate tax rate: ZeroBy Megan McArdle July 31, 2018

about 40 percent of multinational profits, according to a recent economic paper, are sequestered in various tax havens.

To anyone who draws a salary and thus can’t reincorporate in Bermuda to avoid payroll taxes, this corporate tax avoidance might seem outrageous. Governments just need to get really tough, right? The problem is that rich-world governments already are, broadly speaking, pretty tough on large corporations — at least if “tough” means “deploying armies of tax collectors to extract every penny the companies legally owe.”

And trying to force companies to disgorge even more in taxes is an expensive proposition for both companies and the public. The nonpartisan Tax Foundation estimates that the labor involved in preparing corporate tax returns takes $150 billion out of the U.S. economy annually. And that doesn’t count the distortions that the corporate tax code introduces, as companies try to structure operations to lower their tax burden even if that doesn’t make the most business sense. Nor does it include the time and money spent lobbying Congress for a more favorable tax code.

All this is very frustrating. Here’s a solution: Eliminate the corporate income tax. Or lower it to some token rate, such as 1 percent, that wouldn’t be worth the effort to avoid.

the truth is that they have never paid tax — no, not even when rates were higher and IRS agents meaner. Those who insist that companies pay their “fair share,” just as wealthy people should pay their “fair share,” misunderstand what corporations are. They’re imagining a corporation as something like a really rich person. But a corporation is just a legal fiction that temporarily holds money ultimately destined for real people. And it’s those people — shareholders, employees, customers — who end up paying any tax levied on a corporation.

Unfortunately, you can’t pick the people who will pay. Sure, a heavy corporate income tax on Walmart will cost the Walton family some money. But it will also cost retirees whose pension fund invested in the company … and people who work in Walmart stores … and people who shop there. The corporate income tax is at least somewhat progressive, but it’s probably not as progressive as its boosters imagine.

The thing is, we already have an excellent tool for taxing rich people who own stock or manage companies: the personal income tax. Yes, people do also try to avoid paying their personal taxes — but these efforts are actually aided by the corporate income tax. That’s because high corporate taxes create a problem: Government ends up taxing the same income twice, once when the corporation earns it and again when it’s paid to individuals as dividends or capital gains. To keep the combined tax rate from getting too high, and thus discouraging savings and investment, the government created a special low, flat rate for dividends and capital gains. High earners, aiming to lower their tax rate, respond by taking as much of their compensation as possible in the form of dividends or capital gains.

Why not devise a compromise package to reduce the inefficiencies created by the corporate tax code and actually make the code more progressive? Lower the corporate income tax to a token amount, just enough to generate the records the Internal Revenue Service uses to keep wealthy business owners from declaring personal consumption as business expenses. But also eliminate the special treatment for capital income, so that the wealthy no longer benefit from taking income in the form of capital gains and dividends. And if this arrangement turns out to cost the Treasury Department money, then nudge the top rate up to compensate.

We’d have a more progressive tax code, a more attractive environment for businesses making location decisions and, best of all, a horde of unemployed lobbyists and tax specialists forced to pursue a more productive line of work. Which seems infinitely better for everyone than pouring more effort into an unwinnable tax war.

GreenMedInfo 2018-08-06

'Poverty Is Criminalized, Wealth Is Immunized': Report Shows Corporate Crime Enforcement Has Plummeted Under Trump "The message to big business couldn't be more clear: Feel free to run roughshod over rules that protect the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat."

In addition to padding the bottom lines of America's largest corporations by cutting their taxes and eliminating scores of longstanding regulations, President Donald Trump is also protecting major companies' profits by refusing to punish them for ripping off consumers and trampling federal rules that safeguard the planet.

That is the central conclusion of a new Public Citizen analysis out Wednesday, which finds that corporate America has largely been exempt from Trump's so-called "law-and-order" agenda. Titled Corporate Impunity (pdf), the report shows that enforcement actions carried out by major government agencies declined drastically during Trump's first year in the White House.

"When it comes to large corporations, the supposedly 'tough-on-crime' Trump administration is undertaking an epic retreat from law enforcement—slashing fines, declining to bring cases against corporate wrongdoers, and cutting enforcement programs," Public Citizen president Robert Weissman said in a statement on Wednesday.

According to Public Citizen, the largest drop in enforcement actions came at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is currently headed by former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler after previous agency chief Scott Pruitt resigned amid an ever-growing mountain of scandals.

The consumer group's new analysis shows that EPA penalties against corporate criminals has dropped a staggering 94 percent since Trump took office last year.

In Trump’s first year, EPA penalties dropped 94 percent — the most of any federal agency. Under Scott Pruitt, the EPA decreased penalty sums against polluters from $23 billion in Obama’s last year to $1.4 billion in Trump’s first. - Public Citiaen

The decline in penalties leveled by other White House agencies has been similarly striking.

Trump's Department of Justice (DOJ), for instance, imposed $4.9 billion in penalties against major corporations for violating the law. In contrast, during the last year of the Obama administration—which could hardly be described as tough on corporate crime—the DOJ imposed $51.5 billion in fines against businesses.

"The greedy leader sets the pace," noted legal scholar Jennifer Taub in response to Public Citizen's figures. "Under the Trump doctrine, it's corruption without accountability all the way down."

Correction: K's in graphic should be M's. All percentages are still accurate. - Public Citizen

Because the Trump administration has demonstrated that it is not interested in holding corporations accountable for defrauding consumers and wrecking the environment, Public Citizen argues in its report that we can expect an even larger wave of corporate crime in the near future."

"If the chances of being prosecuted for lawbreaking drop and the penalties when caught are slight, we should expect a surge in corporate wrongdoing," the analysis notes. "That means more workers needlessly injured and killed on the job. It means more consumers ripped off by predatory lenders... It also means a greatly increased chance of corporate catastrophes, on the scale of the BP Gulf oil disaster and the 2008 financial crash, both of which can be traced directly to regulatory enforcement failures.""

Succinctly summarizing America's two-tiered justice system—which Trump has tilted even further in favor of the rich by letting corporations run "roughshod"—Public Citizen's Rick Claypool wrote, "While poverty is criminalized, wealth is immunized."

email From Matt Nelson, ICE: brought to you by Microsoft and Salesforce

Right now, some of the largest technology companies in the world are engaged in the ultimate hypocrisy: their CEOs are speaking out, saying they support human rights, while they’re quietly building and selling technology that the government is using to cage children and families.

Despite widespread outcry over the government's inhumane treatment of immigrant families, behind our backs, many of these companies have major contracts with agencies like ICE:

Microsoft’s contract with ICE is $19.4 million, to provide dangerous and invasive facial recognition software

Dell’s contract is $22 million

Motorola’s contract is $15 million

Hewlett Packard Enterprises’ is $76 million

Salesforce has a contract with Border Patrol to make border activities “more efficient”

We've partnered with a growing coalition of grassroots advocacy groups that are demanding that Microsoft, Salesforce, and other large tech companies drop their contracts with immigration enforcement agencies like ICE and Border Patrol. After public upheaval regarding the brutality at the border, Microsoft has issued a statement denying responsibility.3 But immigrants are still being detained by ICE and kept in camps — and companies like Microsoft are still getting paid for their role in helping create this human rights crisis.

10 Companies That Act Like They Hate Their Customers COMCAST CABLE: One Philly resident after another described Comcast as an appalling combination of high prices and terrible customer service... Consumerist named Comcast “Worst Company in America” thanks to its ever-increasing prices and endless stream of consumer complaints.; TIME WARNER CABLE: Deceptive marketing and misleading promotions, billing practices--they were ridden with questionable or bogus fees; VERIZON: Verizon agreed to pay a $90 million penalty after the FCC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau went after it for cramming, the unethical practice of adding unauthorized third-party charges to a customer’s bill in exchange for a commission.; AT&T: The most common complaints included slow data connections, dropped calls and billing errors, and exorbitant fees for early termination. UNITED AIRLINES: there have been so many mergers that only four airlines—United, American, Southwest and Delta—now control 85% of domestic air travel. The result of all this consolidation: higher fares and worse customer service. AMERICAN AIRLINES: Canceled flights were a common complaint in OSPIRG’s report, while “other top problems were about baggage, customer service” and “issues with reservations, bookings, and boarding.” BANK OF AMERICA: Two-thirds of those complaints, CFPB found, involved debt collection, loan modifications and foreclosures. WELLS FARGO: In both lawsuits, Wells Fargo is accused of exploiting customers by opening unwanted accounts in order to generate fees. AETNA: has a long history of raising premiums considerably while subjecting Americans to abysmal customer service. ANTHEM BLUE CROSS/BLUE SHIELD: In 2011, the American Medical Association reported that 19.3% of health insurance claims were being processed incorrectly in the U.S. Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield, aka Anthem, Inc., was among the worst offenders: only 61% of its claims were being processed correctly. But despite its bungling and atrocious customer service, Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield wasn’t exactly known for reasonable prices.

This Is Your Brain on Money: Why America’s Rich Think Differently Than the Rest of Us Economist Chris Dillow cites research by Cameron Anderson and Sebastien Brion, showing that overconfident individuals are seen by others as more competent. He argues that, “overconfident people are more likely to be promoted. And this could have positive feedback effects. Higher status will itself breed even more overconfidence. (E.g. “I got the job so I must be good.”) And if bosses employ like-minded subordinates, the result could be entire layers of management which are both over-confident and engaged in groupthink.” Many other studies cited.

Chomsky: There's an Overt Corporate Effort to Indoctrinate American Children education and indoctrination... and the way "capitalism" actually works in the United States.

The Crisis of Democracy was published in 1975, and it was a discussion of the destructive effect of the 1960s. The destructive effect was that it called for too much democracy. You have to read it to believe it. The picture was that before, people were mostly passive and obedient and they did what they were told and democracy functioned fine.

Anyone who looked at the media could see that it's overwhelmingly conformist. But there was some criticism. I mean, there were people in the media who were saying, "The war's too costly. Maybe we shouldn't continue with it" and so on. And they said even that's too much. You can't have the media being this oppositional and critical of power. So maybe the state should step in with some form of censorship and control over the media.

Email from Economic Policy Institute, 8/13/17

Corporations pay far less than the statutory tax rate


As the GOP pushes to pass tax reform, policymakers will begin debating whether the corporate tax rate—which is set at 35 percent—is too high or too low. But in a new Economic Snapshot, EPI’s Hunter Blair explains that, because of various loopholes, corporations actually pay between 13 and 19 percent in taxes, far lower than the official 35 percent rate. Blair says that if policymakers want meaningful tax reform that helps working people, they should close corporate tax loopholes and make corporations pay their fair share.

FCC determined to kill neutrality of Internet and boost corp. profits

Trump’s Worst Collusion Isn’t With Russia — It’s With Corporations By Peter Certo [the editorial manager of the Institute for Policy Studies and the editor of ] July 14, 2017 "Information Clearing House"

The billionaires who backed Trump are making out a lot better than Putin.

“The effects of the crime are undetectable,” the legendary social critic Noam Chomsky says of the alleged Russian meddling, “unlike the massive effects of interference by corporate power and private wealth.”

The top priority in Congress right now is to move a health bill that would gut Medicaid and throw at least 22 million Americans off their insurance — while loosening regulations on insurance companies and cutting taxes on the wealthiest by over $346 billion.

Meanwhile, majorities of Americans in every single congressional district support efforts to curb local pollution, limit carbon emissions, and transition to wind and solar. And majorities in every single state back the Paris climate agreement.

Yet even as scientists warn large parts of the planet could soon become uninhabitable, the fossil fuel-backed Trump administration has put a climate denier in charge of the EPA, pulled the U.S. out of Paris, and signed legislation to let coal companies dump toxic ash in local waterways.

Meanwhile, as the administration escalates the unpopular Afghan war once again, Kushner invited billionaire military contractors — including Blackwater founder Erik Prince — to advise on policy there.

Elsewhere, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon and other architects of the housing crash are advising Trump on financial deregulation, while student debt profiteers set policy at the Department of Education.

Chomsky complains that this sort of collusion is often “not considered a crime but the normal workings of democracy.” While Trump has taken it to new heights, it’s certainly a bipartisan problem.

The Death of the Republic By Chris Hedges [best journalist extant in my opinion] May 22, 2017 "Information Clearing House"

Corporations, cannibalizing the federal budget, legally empower themselves to exploit and pillage. It is impossible to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs or ExxonMobil. The pharmaceutical and insurance industries can hold sick children hostage while their parents bankrupt themselves trying to save their sons or daughters. Those burdened by student loans can never wipe out the debt by declaring bankruptcy. In many states, those who attempt to publicize the conditions in the vast factory farms where diseased animals are warehoused for slaughter can be charged with a criminal offense. Corporations legally carry out tax boycotts. Companies have orchestrated free trade deals that destroy small farmers and businesses and deindustrialize the country.

Labor unions and government agencies designed to protect the public from contaminated air, water and food and from usurious creditors and lenders have been defanged. The Supreme Court, in an inversion of rights worthy of George Orwell, defines unlimited corporate contributions to electoral campaigns as a right to petition the government or a form of free speech. Much of the press, owned by large corporations, is an echo chamber for the elites. State and city enterprises and utilities are sold to corporations that hike rates and deny services to the poor. The educational system is being slowly privatized and turned into a species of vocational training.

One million prisoners work for corporations inside prisons as modern-day slaves.

Slavehood 2017 By Peter Koenig [an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America.] May 04, 2017 "Information Clearing House"

When in the 18th and 19th Century African slaves did not ‘behave’, they were cruelly beaten sometimes to death as a deterrent for others. They were deprived of food for their families. Their women were raped. They were traded to even harsher white masters. Their lives were worth only what their labor could produce. They were treated as subjects, devoid of human warmth.

Today we have become all slaves; slaves to the powers of mafia bankster of finance; slaves to the western lie-propaganda; to the lobbies and their giant all dominating corporations – to the war-industry, because we happily believe what we are told about ever-increasing terrorism that needs to be fought with eternal wars; slaves to the environment-destructive hydrocarbon industry; to the pharma-industry; to the Monsanto-ized agroindustry; to senseless consumerism – and foremost – and summing it all up: to greed, endless greed that drives endless growth, nurturing endless competition fomenting adversity, destroying solidarity, instead of amical cooperation for a harmonious human cohabitation.

As people of western nations, we are enslaved to an all-engulfing neoliberal fascism – to a predatory economy. Corporate lie propaganda drip-feds our brains. We haven’t even noticed it. We are enslaved to so-called ‘leaders’, put in office by obscure foreign masters of deceit – the ever-stronger corporate controlled propaganda machine – the six all controlling Zion-Anglo media, whom we believe whatever lie they vomit – because it is more comfortable to believe a lie than to confront the truth – that’s self-imposed slavehood.

That’s how far we have gone. Because we are clearly on an almost irreversible downward track – sliding and running towards our own demise – into darkness – the darkness of chaos and bloody wars, endless wars against self-invented terrorism; wars that keeps our western economy running – and our armchair politics alive. Wars that kill and slaughter millions and millions – but all in ‘far-away’ lands. We are told we are protected. Our police and military watch over us. The new gods – money and military.

Although ‘pride’ was never an appropriate term to integrate our soul and minds, as we the western powers – have for centuries enslaved, raped, exploited and slaughtered the indigenous people, those who have for millennia, for history of mankind survived and passed on our human genes from one murderous civilization to another, always in the hope that the new one would see the light.

We can only hope that the patience of these native people, the survivors, our saviors – will prevail, that before we disappear in darkness, in the void of a manmade blackhole, we will awake, open our eyes and seek the light – become finally human, the term we have fraudulently applied to ourselves – the western civilization.

Independent thinking has become a crime, as it impedes the advancement of slavehood. Education is designed to kill individual thinking and the wide range of inventiveness – because it’s dangerous – for those who enslave and control us. ‘New-speak’ education has to make us thinking what the system wants us to think. That’s what western education has become in the last 50 years – a farce to keep us as non-thinking idiots.

Idiots are easily enslaved and exploited and sent to wars – to steal foreign resources to satisfy the greed of a few. We love to be cannon fodder, as we were told – enslaved – to believe that good patriots love to die for their country. We are blinded and avoid seeing that we are dying fighting to satisfy puppet leaders’ greed for power and money – whose power is nothing more than that allowed them by the Masters who control the world and who pull the strings on their marionettes.

Chris Hedges: The Mexicanization of the United States The neoliberal ideology that is the engine of corporate capitalism spews its poison around the globe. Constitutions are rewritten by judicial fiat in a mockery of democracy. Laws and regulations that impede corporate exploitation are abolished. Corporations orchestrate legally sanctioned tax boycotts. Free-trade deals destroy small farmers and businesses along with labor unions and government agencies designed to protect the public from contaminated air, water and food and from usurious creditors and lenders. The press is transformed into an echo chamber for the corporate elites. Wages stagnate or decline. Unemployment and underemployment soar. Social services are curtailed or abolished in the name of austerity. The political system becomes a charade. Dissent is criminalized. The ecocide by the fossil fuel industry accelerates. State enterprises and utilities are sold to corporations. The educational system mutates into vocational training. Culture and the arts are replaced by sexual commodification, banal entertainment and graphic depictions of violence. Infrastructures crumble.

The working poor—sacrificed on the altar of corporate profit and suffering job losses, bankruptcies, foreclosures, harassment and arrest—watch helplessly as their dreams for themselves and their children evaporate. Some are forced into an underground economy dominated by drugs, crime and human trafficking. Some turn to opiates to blunt the despair. (Heroin use in the United States has doubled since 2007.) Suicides mount. (There are more than 40,000 a year in the U.S.) Hunger spreads. (Some 48.1 million Americans, including 15.3 million children, live in food-insecure households.) The state, to prevent unrest, militarizes the police agencies and empowers them to use lethal force against unarmed civilians. It fills the prisons.

From Mexico to Greece to the United States, the scenario is the same, varying only in degree. Neoliberalism and globalization create a vast race to the bottom. Duplicitous political elites, epitomized by Barack Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton, are or will be highly compensated for doling out trillions in “quantitative easing” to banks and other financial firms while delivering credulous voters to the corporate guillotine. Everyone and everything, including the natural world, is transformed into a commodity to exploit for profit.

The corporate pillage, as the Argentines have recently discovered, is limitless. The new Argentine president, the right-wing Mauricio Macri—put in office by corporate backers—has agreed to pay billions to a handful of hedge funds that bought up the country’s debt for a pittance and then demanded full repayment. Paul Singer’s Elliott Management alone will make $2.4 billion, as much as 15 times its initial investment.

The corporate looting is impervious to regulation or reform. It will continue until there is nothing left to exploit or is halted by popular revolt... Mexico is not an anomaly. Mexico is the future.

In the U.S. there is the added dead weight of the war industry. We have spent or obligated $4.4 trillion for the wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. In 15 years of war we have produced hundreds of thousands of dead, millions of refugees, wholesale devastation in countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan, tens of thousands of Islamic terrorists, a series of failed states that stretches from Iraq and Syria to Libya, and obscene profits for the arms manufacturers, who constitute the only real reason these wars are still being fought. The national treasury is being drained for military adventurism that makes us one of the most reviled nations on earth.

The continued reliance on established mechanisms of political participation and reform—the chief mistake made by the supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders—will not work. The entire system has to be demolished, as radicals in parties such as Syriza and Podemos understand. The effort is not only a war to bring down financial systems. It is a war to bring down political systems. It is a war that requires widespread and sustained popular revolt dedicated to overthrowing all the mechanisms of corporate power.

VIDEO: ‘Days of Revolt’: Chris Hedges and Jill Stein Confront the ‘Corporate Leviathan’

The Most Brazen Corporate Power Grab in American History Chris Hedges. Posted on Nov 6, 2015

The release Thursday of the 5,544-page text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership—a trade and investment agreement involving 12 countries comprising nearly 40 percent of global output—confirms what even its most apocalyptic critics feared.

“The TPP, along with the WTO [World Trade Organization] and NAFTA [North American Free Trade Agreement], is the most brazen corporate power grab in American history,” Ralph Nader told me when I reached him by phone in Washington, D.C. “It allows corporations to bypass our three branches of government to impose enforceable sanctions by secret tribunals. These tribunals can declare our labor, consumer and environmental protections [to be] unlawful, non-tariff barriers subject to fines for noncompliance. The TPP establishes a transnational, autocratic system of enforceable governance in defiance of our domestic laws.”

The TPP is part of a triad of trade agreements that includes the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). TiSA, by calling for the privatization of all public services, is a mortal threat to the viability of the U.S. Postal Service, public education and other government-run enterprises and utilities; together these operations make up 80 percent of the U.S. economy. The TTIP and TiSA are still in the negotiation phase. They will follow on the heels of the TPP and are likely to go before Congress in 2017.

These three agreements solidify the creeping corporate coup d’état along with the final evisceration of national sovereignty. Citizens will be forced to give up control of their destiny and will be stripped of the ability to protect themselves from corporate predators, safeguard the ecosystem and find redress and justice in our now anemic and often dysfunctional democratic institutions. The agreements—filled with jargon, convoluted technical, trade and financial terms, legalese, fine print and obtuse phrasing—can be summed up in two words: corporate enslavement.

The TPP removes legislative authority from Congress and the White House on a range of issues. Judicial power is often surrendered to three-person trade tribunals in which only corporations are permitted to sue. Workers, environmental and advocacy groups and labor unions are blocked from seeking redress in the proposed tribunals. The rights of corporations become sacrosanct. The rights of citizens are abolished.

There will be a mass mobilization Nov. 14 through 18 in Washington to begin the push to block the TPP. Rising up to stop the TPP is a far, far better investment of our time and energy than engaging in the empty political theater that passes for a presidential campaign.

The agreement is the product of six years of work by global capitalists from banks, insurance companies, Goldman Sachs, Monsanto and other corporations.

The agreement has built within it a deep antipathy to state-supported or state-owned enterprises. It gives away what is left of our democracy to the World Trade Organization.

The agreement, in essence, becomes global law. Any agreements over carbon emissions by countries made through the United Nations are effectively rendered null and void by the TPP.

The way to stop corporate lawbreaking is to prosecute the people who break the law says Robert Reich ".. calls for holding more corporate executive lawbreakers criminally liable for corporate crimes.

"After reviewing allegations that GM, Credit Suisse, and Arthur Anderson broke the laws, receiving relatively trivial fines, which they consider part of the cost of doing business, Robert Reich notes that no executives have been charged with any crimes and suggests that until we start putting senior corporate executives in jail, we will see no diminution of corporate wrong doing.

"The truth is, corporations aren't people -- despite what the Supreme Court says. Corporations ''t break laws; specific people do. In the cases of GM and Credit Suisse, the evidence points to executives at or near the top.

"Conservatives are fond of talking about personal responsibility. But when it comes to white-collar crime, I haven't heard them demand that individuals be prosecuted.

"Yet the only way to deter giant corporations from harming the public is to go after people who cause the harm."

Corporate Personhood?

Reclaim Democracy "restoring citizen authority over corporations
Alliance for Democracy "progressive populist movement--not a political party--setting forth to end corporate domination, to establish true political democracy and to build a just society with a sustainable, equitable economy"

10 Companies That Act Like They Hate Their Customers COMCAST CABLE: One Philly resident after another described Comcast as an appalling combination of high prices and terrible customer service... Consumerist named Comcast “Worst Company in America” thanks to its ever-increasing prices and endless stream of consumer complaints.; TIME WARNER CABLE: Deceptive marketing and misleading promotions, billing practices--they were ridden with questionable or bogus fees; VERIZON: Verizon agreed to pay a $90 million penalty after the FCC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau went after it for cramming, the unethical practice of adding unauthorized third-party charges to a customer’s bill in exchange for a commission.; AT&T: The most common complaints included slow data connections, dropped calls and billing errors, and exorbitant fees for early termination. UNITED AIRLINES: there have been so many mergers that only four airlines—United, American, Southwest and Delta—now control 85% of domestic air travel. The result of all this consolidation: higher fares and worse customer service. AMERICAN AIRLINES: Canceled flights were a common complaint in OSPIRG’s report, while “other top problems were about baggage, customer service” and “issues with reservations, bookings, and boarding.” BANK OF AMERICA: Two-thirds of those complaints, CFPB found, involved debt collection, loan modifications and foreclosures. WELLS FARGO: In both lawsuits, Wells Fargo is accused of exploiting customers by opening unwanted accounts in order to generate fees. AETNA: has a long history of raising premiums considerably while subjecting Americans to abysmal customer service. ANTHEM BLUE CROSS/BLUE SHIELD: In 2011, the American Medical Association reported that 19.3% of health insurance claims were being processed incorrectly in the U.S. Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield, aka Anthem, Inc., was among the worst offenders: only 61% of its claims were being processed correctly. But despite its bungling and atrocious customer service, Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield wasn’t exactly known for reasonable prices.

You deserve the facts Financier and CEO Peter Schiff said, "People '’t go hungry in a capitalist economy." There are 16 million children on food stamps in America... Over half of public school students are poor enough to qualify for lunch subsidies, and nearly half of all food stamp recipients are children, who average about $5 a day for their meals. Yet the 2014 farm bill cut almost a billion dollars a year from the food stamp program...

Even more disturbing is the reality of homeless children. As America's wealth was growing by 60 percent in the past six years, by over $30 trillion, the number of children without homes was also growing by 60 percent. For every two homeless children in 2006, there are now three... From a global perspective, the U.S. has one of the highest relative child poverty rates in the developed world.

Our nation ranks near the bottom of the developed world in the percentage of 4-year-olds in early childhood education. Yet Head Start was recently hit with the worst cutbacks in its history... Most Americans express shock upon hearing these figures. They should be shocked. And the media should be reporting the facts, no matter how unpleasant they may be.

Could Veganism End World Hunger? The World Health Organization calls malnutrition "the silent emergency", and says it is a factor in at least half the 10.4 million child deaths which occur every year.

If you’re concerned about animal rights, water conservation, clean air and health then you may already be on the road to becoming vegan – so why not take five minutes and find out how veganism could end world hunger?

There is more than enough food being produced to feed everyone in the world twice over.

The problem is, our meat-based diet means that land, water, and other resources that could be used to grow food for human beings are being used to grow crops for farmed animals instead.

70% of U.S. grain production is fed to livestock.

One-third of the world's fish catch is fed directly to livestock.

In cycling our grain through livestock, we waste 90% of its protein and 96% of its calories.

An acre of cereal can produce five times more protein than an acre devoted to meat production. Legumes [beans] can produce ten times as much.

"Those who consume livestock products and fish are competing directly with those who need grain for food." (Lester Brown, president of Worldwatch)

The truth can no longer be dodged. Livestock farming gobbles up agricultural land, water and energy that could be far more efficiently devoted to growing food for people.

The cost of an 8 ounce steak will fill 45 to 50 bowls with cooked cereal grains.

Livestock now outnumber humans by almost three to one. In the last 40 years, the number of cattle has doubled and the fowl population has trebled.

The meat and dairy industry is also putting a huge strain on our water supply.. it is unsustainable.

"The American fast food diet and the meat-eating habits of the wealthy around the world support a world food system that diverts food resources from the hungry" [Dr. Waldo Bello].

It would take just 40 million tons of food to eliminate most world hunger, yet a staggering 760 million tons of grain will be used to feed farmed animals this year.

An individual can make a huge difference. They can stop supporting the meat, fish, egg and dairy industries. They can become vegan.

In the U.S., 64% of cropland produces feed for animals, while only 2% grows fruit and vegetables.

It takes about 300 gallons of water per day to produce food for a vegan, and more than 4,000 gallons of water per day to produce food for a meat-eater.

Fact: You save more water by not eating a pound of beef than you do by not showering for an entire year.

Veganism is about wanting something better.. for the future of our children and the world as a whole.

Veganism is about making the world we live in a better place for people and animals alike.


Diet and Global Warming If one takes the threat of global warming seriously, the most powerful personal step you can take may well be choosing a vegetarian diet.

A Scientific Economic Paradigm Project What I say or write about is not compromised by funding from business or government. I only seek and speak the truth as a scientist, without political ideology or preconceived Utopian dreams. The truth will set us free - we are shackled by too many economic fallacies.

Why this blog?

With so many blogs already in existence, why yet another?

The global financial crisis is also a crisis in economic education. University graduates who populate the ranks of business and government have made decisions and implemented policies which are destroying our economies.

The fallacies contained in economic textbooks have been taught as scientific facts which have guided decisions and policies everywhere. The consequence is a global economic system which is collapsing.

All State Insurance Sucks
Amex Sucks
Costco: "A Corporation That Breaks the Greed Mold" by Jim Hightower
Delocator find locations in cities where Starbucks is not and where good independent houses are... a direct way for anyone to strike a blow against the corporate machine
Monsters, Inc. "According to the DSM-IV, the corporation is ... a prototypical psychopath"
Paypal Sucks
United Package Smashers (UPS)
Verizon Pathetic
WAL-MART lot of quotes on them
Wal-Mart Blows
War Profiteers Exactly one year after the United States launched the dawn invasion of Iraq, war profiteering by multinational companies is at an all-time high with military contractors dramatically boosting revenues
Corporate Accountability International John Stewart. WE protect human rights, public health and the environment from corporate greed and abuse around the world.

The Shocking Tax Loophole for Corporations that Commit Crimes This is how taxpayers end up subsidizing corporate criminals. Jim Hightower

Oil Spills, Mining

Will the Gulf of Mexico Remain a Dumping Ground for Offshore Fracking Waste? Federal documents obtained this year by the Center for Biological Diversity revealed that the Obama administration approved more than 1,200 offshore fracks in 630 different wells in the Gulf from 2010 to 2014. The fracking took place off the coasts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama — with no public involvement or site-specific tests 'e beforehand to evaluate the environmental impact.

Map of Fracked Wells in the Gulf of Mexico

Given that it takes millions of gallons of water to frack a single well, and that on its way into the earth to force out oil or gas reserves the water becomes contaminated with radioactive elements, heavy metals and other toxic compounds, you might wonder: Where is all that offshore fracking wastewater going?

Directly into the Gulf, as it turns out.

How You Can Support Standing Rock This is your pipeline battle too. Whatever you have to offer, we need it. Wherever you are, take one step deeper. Find your voice. Find your own front lines.

I am a settler on this land but have spent the past couple of years supporting indigenous battles against new oil pipelines. These are the front lines of the struggle to end the desecration of Mother Earth, the catastrophes of climate change, and the ongoing genocidal occupation of Indigenous lands that makes that all possible.

Sunrise on the Cannonball River and the Oceti Sakowin camp, Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Photo by Thane Maxwell.

Across the continent, Big Oil is pushing a massive new network of oil and gas infrastructure, retooling in a desperate attempt to extract the dirtiest fuels on the planet and squeeze the last few drops of profit out of an era that clearly needs to end. Without exception, these projects threaten tribal lands, and without exception, they face bold Indigenous resistance.

A historic new chapter in this story is now unfolding on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Thousands of people from hundreds of tribes and First Nations have gathered in solidarity to stop construction of the Dakota Access pipeline. I am one of the organizers helping to leverage resources and coordinate the campaign, and every day I hear from allies across the continent asking how to support the movement.

Federal Bill Seeks First Native American Land Grab in 100 Years Even as the Dakota Access Pipeline protest in Standing Rock has galvanized Native Americans across the U.S., a bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Utah Republican Congressmen Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz seeks to take 100,000 acres of Ute tribal lands and hand them over to oil and mining companies.

The proposed bill also seeks to remove protection from 18 million acres of land in eastern Utah and prevent President Obama from designating the Bears Ears area a national monument.

Adjoining Canyonlands National Park and the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Bears Ears is an unprotected culturally significant region that contains more than 100,000 Native American archeological sites. These sacred sites are subject to continual looting and desecration. More than a dozen serious looting cases were reported between May 2014 and April 2015.

The area has been inhabited for at least 11,000 years. Many Southwestern tribes have longstanding connections to this land, including Navajo, Ute and Paiute peoples. The Navajo Nation and the White Mesa Ute Reservation border Bears Ears. Rock paintings and petroglyphs are found throughout the area.

"Capitalism" & Globalization

Arundhati Roy Confronts the Tyranny of the Free Market Perhaps the most revealing words on the topic of globalization in recent years came not from the pen of Thomas Piketty, nor were they written by Robert Reich or Joseph Stiglitz or Paul Krugman — rather, they can be found in the pages of The Lexus and the Olive Tree, written by the notorious New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman.

“The hidden hand of the market,” Friedman notes in a particularly telling fragment, “will never work without a hidden fist. Mc'ald’s cannot flourish without Mc'nell Douglass, the designer of the F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley’s technologies to flourish is called the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps.”

Friedman isn’t known for his subtlety or sincerity, but the above passage strikes at a crucial truth. So much so, in fact, that Arundhati Roy christened it “the most succinct, accurate description of the project of corporate globalization that I have read.”

Highlights from Gods of Money, by F. William Engdahl

it is a history of power, more precisely, of the colossal abuse of power in the hands of a tiny elite who have constituted themselves as the “Gods of Money.”

a history of the tiny clique of international bankers who created Wall Street and who control it today, as they did the City of Lon' until the First World War.

the Federal Reserve Act. It was passed by an almost empty Congress and signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson—a crony of Wall Street—on Christmas Eve, 1913. bankers’ coup d’état:

The Money Trust of Wall Street saw war as the entrée to financial influence in Europe, filling the vacuum left by a bankrupt Britain.

the Rockefeller group and their banks emerged as the unchallenged leaders of the emerging American domination of the globe,

Since 1945 American hegemony, or more accurately an American imperium, has rested on two firm pillars of support. The first pillar has been the role of the dollar as unchallenged world reserve currency in which New York’s Wall Street is the center of global finance, the “banker to the world.” The second and complementary pillar has been the role of the Pentagon and the unchallenged dominance of American military power. What is poorly understood is how the two pillars fit together seamlessly within one and the same power structure, a power structure that is driven by the money interests.

The book is the result of some thirty years of research and writing on the theme of money and power.

Henry Kissinger, a protégé of the powerful Rockefeller circles. He declared, “If you control the oil, you control entire nations; if you control the food, you control the people; if you control the money, you control the entire world.”

On July 29, 2007 emergency rescue of Germany’s IKB Deutsche Industriebank. IKB was a bank originally set up in 1924 to facilitate payment of German industrial war reparations under the Dawes Plan.

Since the adoption of the US Constitution in 1787, the United States of America had had two abortive experiences with central banks

The first national bank was designed by the nation’s first Treasury Secretary, Alexander Hamilton. In 1791,

In 1791, Hamilton proposed the establishment of a Bank of the United States, modeled, however, on the privately-owned Bank of England. Benjamin Franklin, being familiar with the Bank of England, understood all too well the dangers of a privately owned central bank controlling the issue of the nation’s currency. Franklin effectively blocked the chartering of a privately-owned central bank until his death in 1791.

By its charter, it was 80% owned by private investors,

Nathan Rothschild, at the time Lon'’s and the world’s most powerful banker, invested heavily in the first Bank of the United States, becoming by some accounts its largest shareholder.

The US Government in effect handed over to private bankers control over its money and agreed to pay those bankers interest to boot on money it borrowed. Thomas Jefferson vehemently opposed the bill to create a privately controlled central bank. Nevertheless, George Washington signed it into law on February 25, 1791.

Thomas Jefferson vehemently opposed the bill to create a privately controlled central bank. Nevertheless, George Washington signed it into law on February 25, 1791.

USA declared war against Britain. To finance the War of 1812 as it became known, the US Government went deeply into debt.

In 1816, Congress acquiesced and created the Second Bank of the United States, The Second Bank was controlled by Nicholas Biddle, a wealthy Philadelphian and the bank’s President

President Andrew Jackson vetoed the bill to re-charter the Second Bank in 1832. Biddle’s blackmail attempt failed. On January 8, 1835, Jackson paid off the final installment on the US National Debt for the first time in America’s history.

Lon' bankers control the US bank The Rothschild banking dynasty in Europe,

Enter Lon'’s powerful Rothschilds. sent August Belmont, Sr. to America, as his private agent.

Belmont was so effective in protecting Rothschild’s financial interests that he later became a financial advisor to US Presidents and head of the Democratic Party, all the while taking extraordinary measures behind the scenes to foment the American Civil War. (Belmont’s son, August Belmont, Jr., would later work with J.P. Morgan to create the Panic of 1893, paving the way for the third Bank of the United States— which would be called the Federal Reserve System.)

The Southern secession had been discreetly encouraged by August Belmont, still serving as Rothschild’s personal agent in the United States, and now a major figure in American politics. Belmont regarded Lincoln’s protectionist policies as anathema.

Lincoln followed famous German economist, Friedrich List.

Rather than establish a new Third Bank of the United States — again to be controlled by private bankers, as leading Lon' and allied New York bankers wished — Lincoln used the powers of the Constitution to convince Congress to authorize the issue of interest-free Legal Tender Notes nicknamed “Greenbacks”

Issued by President Abraham Lincoln on State Paper Currency, Greenbacks enabled the Union to finance the Civil War independent of the Lon' banks and their New York partners. It likely provoked his assassination hours after the end of the war.

The Greenbacks allowed Lincoln to finance war costs independent of Lon' or New York bankers who were demanding an exorbitantly high interest rate – as high as between 24% and even 36%.

On April 14, 1865, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, There was no serious Congressional investigation into the issue of conspiracy and who might have been behind the assassination. Lincoln was killed as a result of his monetary policies. Lincoln was viewed as a threat to the Rothschilds’ established order of things,

The evidence was provided to McGeer by Secret Service Agents after Booth’s death; it showed that John Wilkes Booth was a mercenary working for the international bankers.

At that time, most of the world’s central bank gold was in the hands of the Bank of England and the Lon' banks. In 1875, under pressure by East Coast bankers advocating the gold redemption of Greenbacks and the future issue exclusively of gold-backed US Government notes, the US Congress passed the Specie Resumption Act.

Powerful American industrial and banking families grouped around J.P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller concentrated the wealth and control of American industry

the Morgan and Rockefeller interests deployed fraud, deceit, violence, and bribery — and they deliberately manipulated financial panics. Each financial panic, brought about through their calculated control of financial markets and banking credit, allowed them and their closest allies to consolidate ever more power into fewer and fewer hands.

Aristotle used the term “oligarchy” to describe rule by the wealthiest families

Like Britain around the time of the founding of the private Bank of England in 1694, this “open admissions” aristocracy would turn out to be a key factor in the dynamism of the emerging American empire—the

This oligarchy used its immense economic power, often secretly and in coordinated fashion, to orchestrate events that generated waves of bankruptcies and severe economic depressions, even panics.

Those interests were served by wars their captive press helped trigger,

The gold hoarding Panic of 1893 resulted in a contraction of bank credit across America that triggered the worst economic depression in US history up to that time.

Most of the great railroad lines were built not with Morgan money but with public taxes and gifts of public lands. J.P. Morgan then captured these railways and thereby achieved vital control over the entire United States economy.

60 families—names like Rockefeller, Morgan, Dodge, Mellon, formed a close network of plutocratic wealth that manipulated, bribed, and bullied its way to control the destiny of the United States.

The list of American fortunes built on such fraud, corruption and bribery of government officials was long.

The Sherman Anti-Trust Act never in the least hindered Harriman or the other corporate giants. The law was a political charade to defuse public anger. Egregiously, the Sherman Anti-Trust Act was also turned into a weapon to block the expansion of trade unions in the US, as the Supreme Court ruled that striking unionists were a ‘combination in restraint of trade.’

No American business giant of that day could hold a candle to the greatest fraudster and swindler in American financial history at that time— Junius Pierpont Morgan.

J.P. Morgan was behind the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913. Morgan and Rockefeller Engineer the ‘Panic Of 1907’

The panic of 1893, it will be recalled, was caused by a run on gold engineered by the bankers themselves. J. Pierpont Morgan had used the crisis to gain control of the most strategic steel and railroad industries of the United States. In 1901 he gained control of US Steel,

Meanwhile, Stillman’s National City Bank (Citigroup), the bank of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Trust, had emerged as the largest commercial bank in the United States.

By 1907, the Morgan and Rockefeller financial groups were ready to launch their next financial attack on the country’s economy — what came to be called the Panic of 1907. This was to be the needed final push to their greatest coup of all—passage in 1913 of the Federal Reserve Act in which a largely unwitting US

Congress turned control of its power to print money over to a consortium of private bankers.

Rockefeller had unloaded millions of pounds of copper onto the market, precipitating a collapse of copper prices. false rumors deliberately planted by Morgan cronies in newspapers they controlled,

The country was plunged into yet another severe economic depression

Rarely mentioned in the debate about the recurring bank panics was the fact that the Government of the United States of America, through its Secretary of the Treasury, already had the power to step in and lend to the credit-starved banks. The Treasury could easily have played the role of lender of last resort and kept the nation’s credit process under federal guidance and public control, as was explicitly mandated in Article 1 of the United States Constitution.

The Bankers’ Coup D’état In 1908
the most powerful bankers in America met in highest secrecy to draw up plans for the greatest financial and political coup d’état in the history of the United States. The plan was to rob from the US Congress its constitutionally mandated powers to create and control money.

By the nature of the business, international bankers were not loyal to any fixed national space. They had discovered over centuries, going back to the Venetian Empire, that lending to governments or monarchs was far more profitable than lending to private borrowers, not least because the subject loan was backed by the power of the state to tax its citizens to guarantee debt repayment.

They operated in absolute secrecy, lest the general public understand how the banks’ money manipulated political decisions behind the scenes, including decisions to go to war or to keep the peace.

Chase National Bank. The latter, named for Treasure Secretary Chase, became the bank of the Rockefeller Standard Oil empire.

The name of Central Bank is carefully avoided, but the ‘Federal Reserve Association’, the name given to the proposed central organization, is endowed with the usual powers and responsibilities of a European Central Bank.

twelve member banks of the Federal Reserve Association, as he called it, would be owned by private stockholders. The private stockholders in turn could use the credit of the US Government for their own private profit... it was a bank of issue, meaning it could create currency or money at will.

The Bank of England had been granted a royal charter in 1694, A perpetual money machine for the British Government was created. The idea of a permanent National Debt was born.

Fractional reserve banking was first introduced at the Bank of Amsterdam in the middle of the Seventeenth Century. It was 'e in strict secrecy, lest a depositors’ panic ensue, which it ultimately did.

Soon the bankers of Amsterdam realized that at any one time only a small portion of their deposits were withdrawn. So they secretly set out to determine the minimum deposits needed to meet that demand on average, and to lend out the rest in order to make money on their borrowed deposits.

Were the general public to learn that only 50% of their gold was in safe deposit with the Bank, a panic would ensue — which it did in 1791, ending the Bank.

The essence of fractional reserve banking drives banks to lend to the maximum to maximize earnings until credit excess leads to a market collapse. Because the bank lends funds it does not own, the credit mechanism leads to creation of money ex nihilo—out of nothing— through simple bookkeeping entries. Such was the history of the repeatedly engineered bank panics

the Democrats’ version of a national bank act, the Owen-Glass Federal Reserve Act of 1913.

The Pujo hearings were used to manipulate public opinion to back passage of the fateful Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution permitting the Federal Government, in divergence with the Constitution, to levy a direct personal income tax, something that was to prove decisive later in financing US entry into World War I and beyond.

Effectively, the Federal Reserve System ceded the Congress’ right to print money to a legalized cartel of private banks, affiliated with the banks of the City of Lon', above all N.M. Rothschild

It was Morgan and Rockefeller money that put ‘reform’ Democrat Woodrow Wilson in the White House in 1912.

The Republican controlled Senate pushed the bill through when many members of the US Congress were home for the Christmas holiday. Democratic President Woodrow Wilson signed it into law one hour after it was passed by the Congress.

the primus inter pares or first among equals of the twelve.

The key provision of the Federal Reserve Act stipulated that decisions of the Federal Reserve were not to be ratified by the President, or anyone else in the Executive branch of the United States Government or the Congress.

The amendment would allow the newly-established central bank to destroy money as well as to create it. With that, the way was now clear for the Federal Reserve and the private bankers controlling its policies to create economic boom periods, mobilize the economy for wars, and to create deflationary recessions and depressions,

Rhodes and Milner and an elite circle of Empire strategists founded a secret society in 1910 whose purpose was to revitalize a flagging British imperial spirit. The society, many of whose members were graduates of All Souls College at Oxford University, would secretly steer the strategic policies of the British Empire up until the end of the Second World War. They called their group the Round Table,

The British won the Boer War. But in the course of events, they lost their Empire.

England’s nominal victory in the end was pyrrhic. It demonstrated to the entire world that the mightiest Empire on the earth was unable to defeat a small, inferior fighting force determined to defend their homeland, a lesson the American elite was to learn bitterly in Vietnam in the 1970s.

in 1900, Germany’s industrial growth, its educational system and its science were already leaving England far behind.

Frederick Jackson Turner argued that America’s uniqueness was the product of an ever-expanding frontier. It was a precursor of a later German notion of Lebensraum, but one imbued with a messianic religious veneer of America’s ‘God-given’ mission.

Adams and Turner were social Darwinists, as were Rockefeller, Carnegie, Morgan and most of the American plutocrats. They extended the 19th Century notion of America’s ‘Manifest Destiny’ of God-willed expansion across the Continent to the 20th Century task of an American domination of the rest of the world, just as the sun was setting on the decadent and moribund British Empire.

It was the result of a strategic decision taken well beforehand in Whitehall and Ten Downing Street, first with France in 1904, followed by an entente with Czarist Russia in 1907. The aim of this emerging Triple Entente was the military encirclement and isolation of their mutual foe, Germany.

On the outbreak of war in Europe, more than one-third of all Americans were immigrants,

In 1915, at the beginning of the European war, E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. of Delaware received $100,000,000 of British money through J.P. Morgan... Monsanto Chemical Company grew accordingly.

In 1916 alone American industry, despite the nation’s official neutrality, exported a staggering $1,290,000,000 worth of war munitions to England and France.

Senator Gerald Nye, a North Dakota Progressive Republican, held hearings to investigate the role of the munitions industry and finance in dragging the United States into the First World War. Nye called the war industries “merchants of death.”

Lenin, threatened to take power and withdraw Russia from the war... the Germans decided to transport Lenin and the Bolshevik leadership—then in exile in Switzerland—in a special sealed railcar from their Swiss exile by train back to Russia, together with enough gold bars to fund a revolution against the Czar.

the alternative to war [I] was domestic collapse of the US economic and financial structure.

From the time of its official entry into the European war in April 1917 until the signing of armistice with Germany on November 11, 1918, the United States Government lent the European Allied Powers what Lamont had called a “really stupendous” sum: $9,386,311,178.

the Wilson White House created the most impressive propaganda bureau the world had ever seen. On April 13, 1917 Woodrow Wilson created the Committee on Public Information (CPI). Under the leadership of a journalist crony of Wilson named George Creel, shrewdest propagandists in American history, a young Viennese-born naturalized American named Edward Bernays.

Using Creel’s muckraking journalism and Bernays’ Freudian psychology – with its analysis of unconscious needs and drives — the Government’s Committee on Public Information assaulted the unwitting American public with a calculated barrage of lies, jingoistic epithets

instrumental in getting Congress to pass the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918. Radical newspapers, such as the socialist Appeal to Reason, were silenced by wartime limitations on dissent.

it was Bernays’ unique, perverse genius for fusing mob psychology and mass media techniques to manipulate specific human emotions on a large scale. He had learned these keys to influencing human behavior through the work of his uncle, Sigmund Freud.

The CPI’s domestic division was composed of 19 sub-divisions, and each focused on a particular type of propaganda.

Count von Bernstorff, a German diplomat, made a similar observation from another perspective: “The outstanding characteristic of the average American is rather a great, though superficial, sentimentality.”

So great are the psychological resistances to war in modern nations that every war must appear to be a war of defense against a menacing, murderous aggressor. There must be no ambiguity about who the public is to hate.

A particularly effective strategy for demonizing Germans was the use of atrocity stories... It has been employed with unvarying success in every conflict known to man.”

Smart Meters

Smart Utility Meters Josh at GreenMedInfo

At a time when divisive political battles rage on, some things closer to home perhaps deserve more attention. The concept of looking higher than the mainstream narrative is something that GreenMedInfo readers are well accustomed to, so I will dive right in.

One such close-to-home focus is that of 'smart' utility meters, a highly-invasive technology that is positioned to be integrated with big telecom's 5G plans. The innocuous-sounding 'smart' meter has been shown to facilitate in-home surveillance, health risks, unjust billing increases, thousands of house fires, and hacking vulnerability.

While utility metering doesn't sound sexy, when you watch Take Back Your Power 2017, you'll see the critical nature of the 'smart' meter situation and story. But the ending remains unwritten, since there are new, effective solutions people are using to fight back to protect their families.

The profitability of spying on your home and family is such that a NARUC director has admitted that the value of the data harvested by the meters without your consent – data of what you do in your own home – will be "worth a lot more than the commodity [electricity] that's being consumed to generate the data."

This is being undertaken by global elitists under the guise of climate action, though the meters do nothing to reduce energy consumption or help the environment. Hundreds of local governments have issued moratoriums or bans, and well over a million energy customers in North America have written their utility to decline a 'smart' meter on their homes. As a response, pioneers at InPower Movement have initiated a mass action of liability, with positive initial results.

Here's what you need to know

Back in 2008, President Barack Obama's first major move after his election was asking for $100B to fund a 'smart' grid. That program incentivized utilities – with grants up to $200m each – to install the new digitized wireless meters – for electricity, water and gas. Utilities only received these funds if they complied with the agenda.

Approximately 60-65% of Americans now have 'smart' utility meters. As this is part of widespread plan intended to reap billions of dollars and further centralize control, other nations and utilities have followed suit.

So, what's the big deal about 'smart' meters? Our grid needed an upgrade, right? The film you're about to watch documents 5 major problems with 'smart' meters:

In-home spying. The 'smart' meters are designed to function as a "collector hub" for any devices or 'smart' appliances emitting wireless signals in your home. They transmit this data to the next house, which eventually transmits back to the utility (or whomever intercepts the data). Knowing what you are doing in your home is an entirely new way to increase profit and control; and this is all being done without your consent or knowledge. This is against the law, but according to a judge in Illinois, legally we are deemed to have accepted these terms of service, because we have signed up for electrical service. Apparently, it's just business.

Health risks. 'Smart' meters emit pulsed microwave radiation typically every few seconds, and as much as 190,000 times per day. The strength of each microsecond-pulse is at least hundreds of times higher than the radiation emitted by a typical cell phone call. Potentially an even greater risk, however, is what's known as "dirty electricity" generated by the 'smart' meter's switch-mode power supply (SMPS). Health problems have been reported to utilities by perhaps hundreds of thousands of customers, but most people are not yet aware that their utility meter could very well be a culprit causing an increase in symptoms.

Unjust billing increases. 'Smart' meters mean higher bills. Utilities such as ComEd raised base rates 38% to pay for 'smart' meter programs. The meters are admitted to be less accurate, and have racked up bills even with power to the home turned off. In addition, utilities will also increase rates based on "time of use" – so you pay more during peak times. Each 'smart' meter costs hundreds of dollars and is designed to last 5-7 years. Analog meters cost 80-90% less and last 30-40 years. Who pays? We do.

Thousands of house fires and explosions. There have been hundreds, if not thousands, of incidents of house fires related to "upgraded" meters. In once incident in Stockton, California, hundreds of 'smart' meters exploded simultaneously, and 5,800 homes were left without power. 'Smart' meters have caused fatal fires in Dallas (Texas), in Vacaville (California), very likely in Reno (Nevada) and in other undocumented sites. More than 500,000 faulty 'smart' meters have been replaced by various utilities because of these fire risks.

Hacking vulnerability. The level of access and hackability facilitated by 'smart' meters is indeed a very big problem. They effectively create an open door into your home, making you vulnerable to remote interference or power shutoffs. High-ranking officials, such as a former CIA director and a former NSA insider, have lambasted the technology as harmful and potentially catastrophic.

The depth of what's at stake is the reason why I'm releasing this updated 2017 edition of Take Back Your Power, permanently free and on YouTube for the first time ever. The world needs to know about 'smart' meters, about big telecom's new '5G' wireless assault, and what you can do. Let us reach the tipping point in awareness, say "no" effectively, and chart a better course, together.

How Your Constitutional Right to Privacy Just Became a "Privilege" in the Eyes of Courts A Federal Appeals Court in Illinois has ruled that “smart” meters facilitate government search – but called this practice “reasonable”. This story involves a collusion between big corporations, courts and a fake-grassroots organization.

Over the past couple weeks, I've been hearing from several sources about this supposed “win” against utilities pushing “smart” meters. This report, disseminated by Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), is about a recent Federal Appeals Court ruling on “smart” meter surveillance, in Naperville, Illinois. This so-called journalism by EFF is titled, “Win! Landmark Seventh Circuit Decision Says Fourth Amendment Applies to Smart Meter Data.”

But having seen how it was positioned exactly polar opposite of this report from K.T. Weaver - who lives in Naperville and has been reporting independently on “smart” meter harm for several years - I needed to figure out just what the hell is going on. The title of K.T.'s article is “Federal Court Rules against Consumers on Smart Meters and Privacy Rights.” So, why are the reports so different?

My "aha!" moment on EFF came when, in corresponding with K.T., he sent me this Brasscheck interview with Yasha Levine, a respected truth-teller and author of Surveillance Valley. I have been following some of Yasha's work for several years with great interest.

Before we get into examining Yasha’s claim that the EFF is a giant piece of astroturf, let's dive straight into the facts of the recent court ruling on “smart” meters and privacy.

This development has everything to do with our basic human rights, how legal strategies are being implemented to work against the people, and whom we can and cannot trust when seeking justice.

On August 16, 2018, your 4th Amendment right to privacy in your home just became a "privilege"

K.T. Weaver has a multi-year history of independently reporting the facts about “smart” meters on his website As such, we will refer primarily to his posted research and to first-hand quotes from the actual case.

Smart Grid Awareness Federal Court Rules against Consumers on Smart Meters and Privacy Rights

To start with, in 2015 a Naperville District Court had ruled that utility customers who accept a “smart” meter are deemed to have consented to privacy violations as recognized in the 4th Amendment to the Constitution. Since most utilities are extorting their own customers who do not want a “smart” meter on their home, this ruling is baseless and corrupt.

Mark this as flag #1, for those of you wondering why we are not getting justice in courts.

Now, on August 16, 2018, this Federal Appeals Court ruling has conceded that with “smart” meters, occupants are being subjected to a government search every 15 minutes - without their voluntary consent.

But here's where it gets even more maddening.

Rather than ruling against utilities right then and there, the Federal Appeals Court blatantly took direction from industry lawyers', who requested that it be determined whether the government searches are legally "reasonable".

From industry proponents' amicus brief submitted to the court:

"The reasonableness of a search under the Fourth Amendment is determined by balancing its intrusion on the individual’s Fourth Amendment interests against its promotion of legitimate governmental interests."

Taking the cue, the Federal Appeals Court in Naperville, Illinois assumed an initial position of advocating for the government, stating that "the government’s interest in smart meters is significant."

In their analysis, the court first legitimized the false supposition that:

"Smart meters allow utilities to reduce costs, provide cheaper power to consumers, encourage energy efficiency, and increase grid stability. We hold that these interests render the city’s search reasonable, where the search is unrelated to law enforcement, is minimally invasive, and presents little risk of corollary criminal consequences."

This perspective is patently false. Bills go up, energy usage is not reduced, and grids are made vulnerable to hacking. Those pushing “smart” meters have let it slip over and over that the purpose of “smart” meters is to collect information so invasive and granular in nature it will reap billions. And in the eyes of a senior NARUC official, “smart” meter data will “be worth a lot more than the commodity that’s being consumed to generate the data” – electricity – which is a $2.2 trillion annual enterprise.

The house fires (including fatalities), health damage (from EMF and dirty electricity), and security risk to all of us are seen as just a cost of doing the data-harvesting business. And the inexplicable billing increases & “time-of-use” schemes are most definitely seen as an added benefit.

The court then exposed more of its true colors:

"[S]ince these searches are not performed as part of a criminal investigation, … we can turn immediately to an assessment of whether they are reasonable, ‘by balancing its intrusion on the individual’s Fourth Amendment interests against its promotion of legitimate government interests’."

As K.T. points out, does that language sound familiar? Then, this:

"[P]rivacy interest must be weighed against the government’s interest in the data collection."

K.T. Weaver summarizes the effect of this case, going forward in the "legal" world:

"This Court ruling appears merely to have had the effect of advancing from the District Court opinion of 'deemed' consent for data collection to an Appeals Court opinion of 'deemed' legitimate government interest for data collection. Either way, smart meter privacy invasions continue to occur, just now as an official governmental 'search.'"

Do you see what just happened here?

Your constitutional rights are now legally being weighed against the desires of the government. This, right here, is a marker for where your rights have officially, legally become recognized as privileges.

Now you see the game that courts and industry are playing together. Setting legal precedents and creating “the new normal”. It’s just business.

Corporate Welfare

Where Is The Outrage Over Corporate Welfare? Forbes by David Brunori

I recently read the February 24 Good Jobs First report, “Subsidizing the Corporate One Percent,” by Philip Mattera, a respected thought leader in our business. It says that three-quarters of all state economic development subsidies went to just 965 corporations since the beginning of the study in 1976. The Fortune 500 corporations alone accounted for more than 16,000 subsidy awards, worth $63 billion – mostly in the form of tax breaks.

Think about that. The largest, wealthiest, most powerful organizations in the world are on the public dole. Where is the outrage? Back when I was young, people went into a frenzy at the thought of some unemployed person using food stamps to buy liquor or cigarettes. Ronald Reagan famously campaigned against welfare queens. The right has always been obsessed with moochers. But Boeing receives $13 billion in government handouts and everyone yawns, when conservatives should be grabbing their pitchforks.

According to Good Jobs First, there are 514 economic development programs in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. More than 245,000 awards have been granted under those programs. I ask again, where is the outrage? The system is antithetical to the idea of free markets. A quarter of a million times, state governments decided what is best for producers and consumers. That should make us cringe.

But more importantly, those 514 economic development programs are almost all the result of insidious cronyism. Narrow business interests manipulate government policymakers, and those interests prosper to the detriment of everyone else. Free markets be damned.

And while I’m looking for outrage, where are the liberals? The 965 companies in the report received over $110 billion of public money. Berkshire Hathaway, a company with $485 billion in assets and $20 billion in profits, received over $1 billion of that money. Its chair, Warren Buffett, is worth about $58 billion. Buffett, by the way, is still a darling of the left. He has some nerve to call for higher taxes. The billion dollars his companies took would pay for a lot of teachers, healthcare, and other public goods.

I don’t blame the corporations. They act rationally. If someone gives you $1 billion, you take it. The blame lies with us. The sheer size of the corporate welfare system should spark outrage whether we are conservatives, liberals, or libertarians. And that outrage should be reflected in how we vote. In the meantime, kudos to Good Jobs First for continuing to highlight this problem.

Corporate Welfare Corporate welfare is a general term that refers to financial assistance, tax advantages, or other support given to corporations and other business entities by the United States government. Unlike welfare payments given to individuals, corporate welfare system is not intended to prevent poverty or raise the standard of living. Instead the federal government awards payments to specific industries or companies in the form of subsidies, grants, contracts, and other aid. Due to the wide range of interests, the system is not monitored or controlled by a single Congressional committee. In addition, since many Americans have mixed views on corporate welfare, this practice is sometimes an area of great debate.

The corporate welfare system in the US is extremely complex and widespread and often includes both direct subsidies and indirect subsidies. The direct subsidies are awarded to numerous fields and programs and used for specific projects or plans. For example, funds may be contributed to areas of agriculture, economic development, transportation, energy, research, and technology. Indirect subsidies usually support the promotion of US goods and services in foreign countries as well as attempts to resurrect failing businesses. Corporate welfare benefits may be short or long term and can vary greatly among different areas of commercial interest.

The largest direct subsidies of the welfare system are regularly given to the field of agribusiness or, more specifically, for crops and farming. There are a variety of opinions on this particular topic. While supporters of corporate welfare for farmers maintain that farming must make up a substantial portion of the US economy in order for it to remain strong, others argue that technological advances have changed the business of agriculture to one that does not require as much money to operate as it once did. Yet many farmers often have higher incomes and lower expenses than other households in the US, giving rise to the issue of responsible disbursement of funds.

Ten Examples of Welfare for the Rich and Corporations HuffPost by Bill Quigley

Here are the top 10 examples of corporate welfare and welfare for the rich. There are actually thousands of tax breaks and subsidies for the rich and corporations provided by federal, state and local governments, but these 10 will give a taste.

1. State and local subsidies to corporations: An excellent New York Times study by Louise Story calculated that state and local government provide at least $80 billion in subsidies to corporations. Over 48 big corporations received over $100 million each. GM was the biggest, at a total of $1.7 billion extracted from 16 different states, but Shell, Ford and Chrysler all received over $1 billion each. Amazon, Microsoft, Prudential, Boeing and casino companies in Colorado and New Jersey received well over $200 million each.

2. Direct federal subsidies to corporations: The Cato Institute estimates that federal subsidies to corporations cost taxpayers almost $100 billion every year.

3. Federal tax breaks for corporations: The tax code gives corporations special tax breaks that have reduced what is supposed to be a 35-percent tax rate to an actual tax rate of 13 percent, saving these corporations an additional $200 billion annually, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

4. Federal tax breaks for wealthy hedge fund managers: Special tax breaks for hedge fund managers allow them to pay only a 15-percent rate while the people they earned the money for usually pay a 35-percent rate. This is the break where the multimillionaire manager pays less of a percentage in taxes than her secretary. The National Priorities Project estimates this costs taxpayers $83 billion annually, and 68 percent of those who receive this special tax break earn more than $462,500 per year (the top 1 percent of earners).

5. Subsidies to the fast food industry: Research by the University of Illinois and UC Berkeley documents that taxpayers pay about $243 billion each year in indirect subsidies to the fast food industry because they pay wages so low that taxpayers must put up $243 billion to pay for public benefits for their workers.

6. Mortgage deduction: The home mortgage deduction, which costs taxpayers $70 billion per year, is a huge subsidy to the real estate, banking and construction industries. The Center of Budget and Policy Priorities estimated that 77 percent of the benefit goes to homeowners with incomes over $100,000 per year.

7. The billions above do not even count the government bailout of Wall Street, while all parties have done their utmost to tell the public that they did not need it, that they paid it back, or that it was a great investment. The Atlantic Monthly estimates that $7.6 trillion was made available by the Federal Reserve to banks, financial firms and investors. The Cato Institute estimates (using government figures) the final costs at $32 to $68 billion, not including the takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which alone cost more than $180 billion.

8. Each major piece of legislation contains new welfare for the rich and corporations. The Boston Globe analyzed the emergency tax legislation passed by Congress in early 2013 and found it contained 43 business and energy tax breaks, together worth $67 billion.

9. Huge corporations that engage in criminal or other wrongful activities protect their leaders from being prosecuted by paying huge fees or fines to the government. You and I would be prosecuted. These corporations protect their bosses by paying off the government. For example, Reuters reported that JPMorgan Chase, which made a preliminary $13-billion mortgage settlement with the U.S. government, is allowed to write off a majority of the deal as tax deductible, saving the corporation $4 billion.

10. There are thousands of smaller special breaks for corporations and businesses out there. There is a special subsidy for corporate jets, which cost taxpayers $3 billion a year. The tax deduction for second homes costs $8 billion a year. Fifty billionaires received taxpayer-funded farm subsidies in the past 20 years.

f you want to look at the welfare for the rich and corporations, start with the federal Internal Revenue Code. That is the King James Bible of welfare for the rich and corporations. Special breaks in the tax code are the reason that there are thousands of lobbyists in the halls of Congress, hundreds of lobbyists around each state legislature and tens of thousands of tax lawyers all over the country.

CATO Institute: Corporate Welfare How much do we spend on corporate welfare?

Corporate Welfare. Corporate welfare is one manifestation of the special-interest spending problem. The budget contains many subsidies that aid some businesses at the expense of taxpayers and the overall economy. The government spends about $100 billion annually on corporate welfare, according to a 2012 Cato study.

Corporate Socialism and Hollowing of America Most people understand and assume that government income redistribution, where higher incomes are taxed and transferred to those with lower incomes, is a way of achieving greater income equality. But few people are aware of the extent of corporate socialism which is defined here as the transfer of capital, by government to corporations.

In the heat of the GFC [Great Financial Crisis?], corporate socialism was blatant as there was no need to hide the fact that financial corporations needed to be saved by the government’s injecting trillions of dollars into them to maintain liquidity and solvency of the financial system. The income inequality created by corporate socialism was equally blatant, making billionaires of executives such as Lloyd Blankfein (in July 2015), CEO of Goldman Sachs, a bank which was central to the fraudulent dealings of subprime mortgage derivatives triggering the GFC.

The close connection between the US government and the financial sector through the operations of the US Federal Reserve is perhaps well understood. But less well understood is how corporate socialism has been operating less blatantly by the government over the decades, not just recently. For example, nearly 6 percent of GDP collected annually in indirect taxes comes substantially from import duties, which protect corporations from foreign competition at the expense of consumers. American corporations can charge the consumers more than otherwise for their products – an outcome which would be contrary to advice from neoclassical economics.

But neoclassical economics would recommend government policy to deregulate the labour market to provide more flexible wages and salaries in order to increase employment. Wage flexibility is a euphemism for lower wages, because it is assumed that lower wages enable employers to hire more staff. The downward pressure on wages came from technology, globalization (liberalization of international trade), outsourcing and de-unionization of the private sector workforce, which fell from 35 percent membership to about 6.5 percent over 50 years.

Globalization has led to cheaper products, but also to greater competition for corporate profits. Lower wages enable higher corporate profits, because labour is usually the most significant cost to business operations; higher profits would result if the business captures the benefit of lower wages by not increasing its labour hire. Deregulation of the labour markets started in the UK under Thatcher, and in the US under Reagan, in the early 1980s, with the breaking of labour union strikes. The impact of this government policy took about a decade to be seen in the economic data, as the following chart shows.

Since the early 1990s, there has been a rising trend of corporate profits by about 5 percent of GDP and a continued falling trend of wages and salaries by about 3 percent of GDP. The development of such disequilibrium trends of falling employee compensation would have been unsustainable for the past 25 years, had it not been for government intervention with social welfare to compensate for falling pay of workers.

Income Inequality

The chart below shows the share of the top one percent of US income earners using the data from The World Wealth and Income Database (Alvaredo et al., 2015), compared with pre-tax corporate profits.

While corporate profits have increased in the past 25 years, but only to post-war levels relative to GDP, income inequality measured by the share accrued to the top one percent has increased dramatically. This suggests that current income inequality is not caused by the level of corporate profits, which are the same as after WW2 when inequality was much lower. This fact, and the fact that capital income has been relatively constant as a percentage of GDP and as a component of personal income, suggests that the income inequality is caused by corporate profits benefiting relatively fewer people. Therefore, the cause is the narrowing of the distribution of corporate profits, rather than greater corporate profits, greater capital income or higher return on capital.

Hollowing of America

It has been shown so far that US government policy can be characterized by welfare for corporations and for low-income households. This welfare policy has been the consequence of allowing the suppression of wages and salaries in the labour market. Stagnant wages and salaries contain costs relative to growing revenue for companies, thus increasing profits and boosting share prices. For low-income households with stagnant wages, real income has been augmented by increasing social welfare and deficit spending by the government.

Since wealth redistribution by government expenditure favours both the low end and the high end of the income spectrum, the middle class effectively shoulders a substantial burden by paying more taxes than it receives in benefits. This policy limits the economic viability of parts of the middle class and is responsible for the hollowing of America. The middle class – consisting of small and medium enterprises of entrepreneurs, professionals and family businesses – is the major employer and the real engine of economic growth under capitalism.


Let's call recycling what it is- a fraud, a sham, a scam perpetrated by big business on the citizens and municipalities of America…Recycling is simply the transfer of producer responsibility for what they produce to the taxpayer who has to pick it up and take it away.

Now that China is refusing to take our waste, the whole system is breaking down. That's why it's time for zero waste and deposits on everything. - Treehugger

Recycling is Bullshit; Make Nov. 15 Zero Waste Day, not America Recycles Day

Lets call recycling what it is- a fraud, a sham, a scam perpetrated by big business on the citizens and municipalities of America. Look who sponsors the National Recycling Coalition: behind America Recycles Day: Coca-Cola, Pepsico, Anheuser-Busch, Coors, Owens-Illinois, International Bottled Water Association, the same people who brought you that other fraud, Keep America Beautiful.

Recycling is simply the transfer of producer responsibility for what they produce to the taxpayer who has to pick it up and take it away.

Heather Rogers wrote in "Message in a bottle" about how they did this. The Keep America Beautiful campaign started a few years after the introduction of disposable bottles in the early 1950s. Soon bottles were everywhere and states were considering bans on disposables. So American Can, Owens-Illinois and Coke got together to basically invent the concept of litter. They said "packages don't litter, people do." (sound familiar?)

"KAB downplayed industry's role in despoiling the earth, while relentlessly hammering home the message of each person's responsibility for the destruction of nature, one wrapper at a time. ....KAB was a pioneer in sowing confusion about the environmental impact of mass production and consumption."

Now that China won't take plastic waste, what's the U.S. doing?

A new investigation by Greenpeace delves into the ongoing environmental devastation caused by our recycling habits.

It has been ten months since China closed its doors to the world's recycling waste. For the past twenty years, it had taken enormous quantities of plastic and other recyclable materials from countries such as the United Kingdom, Japan, and the United States. 'Enormous quantities' is not an understatement: the UK shipped two-thirds of its waste to China and the U.S. sent 70 percent. Overall, China used to take in 45 percent of the planet's recycling waste.

Needless to say, the decision threw the recycling industry into total chaos because most countries do not have the proper infrastructure in place to deal with their own recycling waste. As a result, many cities and municipalities have limited their recycling capabilities and begun landfilling or incinerating a greater number of products that formerly were recyclable.

Curious about what has happened behind the scenes this year, as U.S. recyclers struggle to adjust to the change, Greenpeace conducted an investigation titled 'Unearthed.' It found that plastic scrap exports from the U.S. plummeted by one third in the first half of 2018 and that other markets have been found in southeast Asia. Exports to Thailand increased by nearly 2,000 percent, in Malaysia by 273 percent, and in Vietnam by 46 percent. Vietnam has been so overwhelmed that it temporarily banned imports between June and October, and a plastics processing facility in Kuala Lumpur was forced to shut down due to residents complaining of air and water pollution.

Unearthed says there is still 280,000 metric tons of plastic not being exported from the U.S. but unaccounted for, leading investigators to suspect it's being incinerated or sent to landfill.

The rise in new markets is concerning for a number of reasons. As Robin Wiener, CEO of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, told Unearthed investigators,

"Some of these countries just don’t have the infrastructure in ports or roads to deal with an increase in volume of material. Pop-up recyclers are trying to take advantage of these shifting markets but they are not doing it properly. They are not following industry standards when it comes to environmental, health, and safety practices."

Faced with rising bills, it's not a stretch to imagine that some cities will choose to landfill their waste, rather than pay to have it recycled. Residents may be expected to foot the bill for their own waste, either in the form of higher taxes or, as one town in Vermont is planning to do, being charged for their recycling -- which, I must say, sounds like a smart idea.

I've always maintained that, if we didn't have the ability to send waste away to some nebulous, distant place, and if we had to stash it all in our own backyards indefinitely, moving to zero-waste and reusable packaging would become an obsession. The fact that we've been able to offshore the majority of our waste processing has caused us as consumers to grow complacent and lazy.

This report underscores what we've been arguing on TreeHugger for years -- that recycling doesn't work. It is not the feel-good, environmentally-friendly solution that people like to believe it is. What we need is to stop throwing things away, whether it's in the garbage or the blue bin (compost heap excepted). This means making smart, sustainable choices as consumers, and applying pressure on manufacturers to come up with circular packaging solutions.

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo admits it incorrectly foreclosed on 545 homeowners it should have helped

WP 11-7-18

Wells Fargo acknowledged Tuesday that, because of a calculation error, it had improperly foreclosed on 545 distressed homeowners after they asked for help with their mortgages.

Overall, 870 homeowners were denied help for which they qualified — with more than half losing their homes afterward, Wells Fargo said.

The acknowledgment is sure to increase pressure on the San Francisco-based bank, which has been struggling to repair its image after a series of missteps. It has already paid more than $1 billion in fines to various regulators for opening up sham accounts people did not want and improperly repossessing thousands of cars.

Sanctions of Mass Destruction: America's War on Venezuela

By Garikai Chengu, January 31, 2019 "Information Clearing House"

Prior to American sanctions, socialism in Venezuela had reduced inequality and poverty whilst pensions expanded..

American economic sanctions have been the worst crime against humanity since World War Two. America’s economic sanctions have killed more innocent people than all of the nuclear, biological and chemical weapons ever used in the history of mankind.

The fact that for America the issue in Venezuela is oil, not democracy, will surprise only those who watch the news and ignore history. Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves on the planet.

America seeks control of Venezuela because it sits atop the strategic intersection of the Caribbean, South and Central American worlds. Control of the nation, has always been a remarkably effective way to project power into these three regions and beyond.

From the first moment Hugo Chavez took office, the United States has been trying to overthrow Venezuela’s socialist movement by using sanctions, coup attempts, and funding the opposition parties. After all, there is nothing more undemocratic than a coup d’état.

United Nations Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur, Alfred de Zayas, recommended, just a few days ago, that the International Criminal Court investigate economic sanctions against Venezuela as a possible crime against humanity perpetrated by America.

Over the past five years, American sanctions have cut Venezuela off from most financial markets, which have caused local oil production to plummet. Consequently, Venezuela has experienced the largest decline in living standards of any country in recorded Latin American history.

Prior to American sanctions, socialism in Venezuela had reduced inequality and poverty whilst pensions expanded. During the same time period in America, it has been the absolute reverse. President Chavez funneled Venezuela’s oil revenues into social spending such as free+6 healthcare, education, subsidized food networks, and housing construction.

In order to fully understand why America is waging economic war on the people of Venezuela one must analyse the historical relationship between the petrodollar system and Sanctions of Mass Destruction: Prior to the 20th century, the value of money was tied to gold. When banks lent money they were constrained by the size of their gold reserves. But in 1971, U.S. President Richard Nixon took the country off the gold standard. Nixon and Saudi Arabia came to an Oil For Dollars agreement that would change the course of history and become the root cause of countless wars for oil. Under this petrodollar agreement the only currency that Saudi Arabia could sell its oil in was the US dollar. The Saudi Kingdom would in turn ensure that its oil profits flow back into U.S. government treasuries and American banks.

In exchange, America pledged to provide the Saudi Royal family’s regime with military protection and military hardware.

It was the start of something truly great for America. Access to oil defined 20th-century empires and the petrodollar agreement was the key to the ascendancy of the United States as the world’s sole superpower. America’s war machine runs on, is funded by, and exists in protection of oil.

Threats by any nation to undermine the petrodollar system are viewed by Washington as tantamount to a declaration of war against the United States of America.

Within the last two decades Iraq, Iran, Libya and Venezuela have all threatened to sell their oil in other currencies. Consequently, they have all been subject to crippling U.S. sanctions.

Over time the petrodollar system spread beyond oil and the U.S. dollar slowly but surely became the reserve currency for global trades in most commodities and goods. This system allows America to maintain its position of dominance as the world’s only superpower, despite being a staggering $23 trillion in debt.

With billions of dollars worth of minerals in the ground and with the world’s largest oil reserves, Venezuela should not only be wealthy, but her people the envy of the developing world. But the nation is essentially broke because American sanctions have cut them off from the international financial system and cost the economy $6 billion over the last five years. Without sanctions, Venezuela could recover easily by collateralizing some of its abundant resources or its $8 billion of gold reserves, in order to get the loans necessary to kick-start their economy.

In order to fully understand the insidious nature of the Venezuelan crisis, it is necessary to understand the genesis of economic sanctions. At the height of World War Two, President Truman issued an order for American bombers to drop “Fat Man” and “Little Boy” on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing 140,000 people instantly. The gruesome images that emerged from the rubble were broadcast through television sets across the world and caused unprecedented outrage. The political backlash forced U.S. policy makers to devise a more subtle weapon of mass destruction: economic sanctions.

The term "weapons of mass destruction" (WMD) was first defined by the United Nations in 1948 as

"atomic explosive weapons, radioactive material weapons, lethal chemical and biological weapons, and any weapons developed in the future which have characteristics comparable in destructive effect to those of the atomic bomb or other weapons mentioned above."

Sanctions are clearly the 21st century’s deadliest weapon of mass destruction.

In 2001, the U.S. administration told us that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction; Iraq was a terrorist state; Iraq was tied to Al Qaeda. It all amounted to nothing. In fact, America already knew that the only weapons of mass destruction that Saddam had were not nuclear in nature, but rather chemical and biological. The only reason they knew this in advance was because America sold the weapons to Saddam to use on Iran in 1991.

What the U.S. administration did not tell us was that Saddam Hussein used to be a strong ally of the United States. The main reason for toppling Saddam and putting sanctions on the people of Iraq was the fact that Iraq had ditched the Dollar-for-Oil sales.

The United Nations estimates that 1.7 million Iraqis died due to Bill Clinton’s sanctions; 500,000 of whom were children. In 1996, a journalist asked former U.S. Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, about these UN reports, specifically about the children. America’s top foreign policy official, Albright, replied:

"I think this is a very hard choice, but the price - we think the price is worth it."

Clearly, U.S. sanctions policies are nothing short of state-sanctioned genocide.

Over the last five years, sanctions have caused Venezuelan per capita incomes to drop by 40 percent, which is a decline similar to that of war torn Iraq and Syria at the height of their armed conflicts. Millions of Venezuelans have had to flee the country. If America is so concerned about refugees, Trump should stop furthering disastrous foreign policies that actually create them. Under Chavez, Venezuela had a policy of welcoming refugees. President Chavez turned Venezuela into the wealthiest society in Latin America with the best income equality.

Another much vilified leader who used oil wealth to enrich his people, only to be put under severe sanctions, is Muammar Gaddafi. In 1967 Colonel Gaddafi inherited one of the poorest nations in Africa; however, by the time he was assassinated, Gaddafi had turned Libya into Africa’s wealthiest nation. Perhaps, Gaddafi’s greatest crime, in the eyes of NATO, was his quest to quit selling Libyan oil in U.S. Dollars and denominate crude sales in a new gold backed common African currency. In fact, in August 2011, President Obama confiscated $30 billion from Libya’s Central Bank, which Gaddafi had earmarked for the establishment of an African Central Bank and the African gold-backed Dinar currency.

Africa has the fastest growing oil industry in the world and oil sales in a common African currency would have been especially devastating for the American dollar, the U.S. economy, and particularly the elite in charge of the petrodollar system.

It is for this reason that President Clinton signed the now infamous Iran-Libya Sanctions Act, which the United Nations Children’s Fund said caused widespread suffering among civilians by “severely limiting supplies of fuel, access to cash, and the means of replenishing stocks of food and essential medications.” Clearly, U.S. sanctions are weapons of mass destruction.

Not so long ago, Iraq and Libya were the two most modern and secular states in the Middle East and North Africa, with the highest regional standards of living. Nowadays, U.S. Military intervention and economic sanctions have turned Libya and Iraq into two of the world’s most failed nations.

"They want to seize Libya's oil and they care nothing about the lives of the Libyan people," remarked Chavez during the Western intervention in Libya in 2011.

In September 2017, President Maduro made good on Chavez’s promise to list oil sales in Yuan rather than the US dollar. Weeks later Trump signed a round of crippling sanctions on the people of Venezuela.

On Monday, U.S. National Security adviser John Bolton announced new sanctions that essentially steal $7 billion from Venezuela’s state owned oil company. At that press conference Bolton brazenly flashed a note pad that ominously said “5,000 troops to Colombia”. When confronted about it by the media, Bolton simply said,

"President Trump stated that all options are on the table."

America’s media is unquestionably the most corrupt institution in America. The nation’s media may quibble about Trump’s domestic policies but when it comes to starting wars for oil abroad they sing in remarkable unison. Fox News, CNN and the New York Times all cheered the nation into war in Iraq over fictitious weapons of mass destruction, whilst America was actually using sanctions of mass destruction on the Iraqi people. They did it in Libya and now they are doing it again in Venezuela. Democracy and freedom have always been the smoke screen in front of capitalist expansion for oil, and the Western Media owns the smoke machine. Economic warfare has long since been under way against Venezuela but military warfare is now imminent.

Trump just hired Elliot Abrams as U.S. Special Envoy for Venezuela, who has a long and torrid history in Latin America. Abrams pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the Iran Contra affair, which involved America funding deadly communist rebels, and was the worst scandal in the Reagan Era. Abrams was later pardoned by George Bush Senior. America’s new point man on Venezuela also lied about the largest mass killing in recent Latin American history by U.S. trained forces in El Salvador.

There is nothing more undemocratic than a coup d’état. A UN Human Rights Council Rapporteur, Alfred de Zayas, pointed out that America’s aim in Venezuela is to “crush this government and bring in a neoliberal government that is going to privatise everything and is going to sell out, a lot of transitional corporations stand to gain enormous profits and the United States is driven by the transnational corporations.”

Ever since 1980, the United States has steadily devolved from the status of the world’s top creditor country to the world’s most indebted country. But thanks to the petrodollar system’s huge global artificial demand for U.S. dollars, America can continue exponential military expansion, record breaking deficits and unrestrained spending.

America’s largest export used to be manufactured goods made proudly in America. Today, America’s largest export is the U.S. dollar. Any nation like Venezuela that threatens that export is met with America’s second largest export: weapons, chief amongst which are sanctions of mass destruction.

This article was originally published by "Global Research"


Break Free From The Corporate Prison, February 15, 2019, By Caitlin Johnstone

This is not a sane way for people to live. They herd us into classrooms where our minds are pressed into uniform shapes learning lessons which organize clean-cut, authorized thoughts into neat little boxes, then they herd us into cubicles where we turn gears to turn millionaires into billionaires.

We go home and our minds are herded into advertising that makes us want to consume, news media that makes us believe our government is virtuous, and TV shows where paid actors play out scenes which convince us that capitalism is working out perfectly fine. Try to get away from the phoniness by talking to a real person, and it turns out they’ve been processed through the same system.

But the rewards of moving inside their painted lanes are so great, and the penalties for stepping outside them are so severe. The closest most ever come to authenticity is learning how to fake their way through society while secretly knowing it’s all bullshit.

But we also can’t keep living like this. This machine we keep fueling is filling the oceans with poison and filling the air with greenhouse gasses while killing the trees and driving humanity toward nuclear war. The lanes they have painted for us have formed a funnel into our own extinction.

So those lanes are necessarily going to have to become moot. All the societal structures which have been put in place to incentivize us toward producing and consuming are going to have to fall away. Either because society collapses or because we changed our ways quickly and drastically enough to avert disaster. Either way, this march away from our own authenticity is about to end.

So why not start now? Why not take off that tight suit and stop acting out this masochistic charade?

Stop marching inside their lines to the beat of their drum. Stop relating to life using dead ideas you were handed by other people for the convenience of the powerful. Start dancing your own dance in your own way.

I don’t know how to dance your authentic dance, so I can’t tell you how to do that. But you do. You know. Underneath all the societal impositions and expectations and pressures and demands and fear and aversion and uncertainties, you know. The instructions are written upon the core of your being, and if you get sincerely curious about them, they will show themselves to you bit by bit, as needed.

Once you move past all the voices telling you you mustn’t and you shouldn’t, you will find that your own inner truth is so much wiser and healthier than society’s dead ideas about how we all ought to live.

Trust yourself to be bravely and defiantly true to the truth, clear-eyed rebel. I trust you. Life trusts you. You can trust yourself.

Climb up over that slaughterhouse rail and go live a life uninhibited by the painted lanes of a servile society, for the good of our species and for the honor of your own majesty. Leave the cage they built for you in a ditch by the freeway and stride out boldly into uncharted lands beneath the open sky.

Caitlin's articles are entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking her on Facebook, following her antics on Twitter, checking out her podcast, throwing some money into her hat on Patreon or Paypal, or buying her book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers.

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Mining company leaves taxpayers with a $100 million cleanup bill—and it's just one of many, Daily Kos, Mark Sumner, March 18, 2019

There are many ways in which Donald Trump has rewarded companies while eroding environmental policies, but the mining industry in particular has benefited spectacularly. Not only have there been specific gifts to the coal industry in terms of relaxing rules around coal ash retention ponds and completely scrapping the Clean Power Plan, but mining in general has been handed giant cash grabs in the form of additional public lands opened to mining and relaxed rules around dumping mining waste in streams. And those are just the big, easily visible changes. CNN also found that there has been a 60 percent drop in inspections and an even larger decrease in the number of cases forwarded to the Justice Department for prosecution.

For polluters, Donald Trump represents a free lunch. For taxpayers, not so much.

As Mother Jones reports, the potential environmental damage caused by mining is immense. And since rules around cleanup have often allowed companies to “self bond”—making a promise to conduct a proper clean up without actually acquiring insurance to cover that future cost—failing companies can leave taxpayers holding both the bill and an environmental disaster. For example, a single abandoned gold mine in the mountains south of the Fort Belknap Indian Community in Montana has left the area with a legacy of discolored water so polluted with acid that contact with it “makes skin burn and turn red.” After 20 years of attempted cleanup, the bill for dealing with this single mine is approaching $100 million, and the cleanup is still in early stages. The final bill is inestimable, and no approach is likely to restore the pristine water the area enjoyed previous to mining.

Before mining begins, companies are expected to set aside money to cover reclamation, based on cost estimates made by the Interior Department. Experience has demonstrated that the number provided is often far too low to begin with, but companies have routinely appealed before agreeing to even lower numbers in arbitration or in court. And even then, the ability of larger companies to “self bond” can mean that the supposed money set aside can amount to nothing at all when the bill comes due.

The total of reclamation costs already carried by taxpayers is in the billions, and the issue is only getting worse as deregulatory efforts like those instituted by Trump make it easy to centralize the gains, and externalize the costs.

Whether its health and climate effects from burning coal, or the acid and toxins spread in recovering metals, the mining industry is utterly dependent on the ability to collect its gains and dodge the real costs. “Hard rock” mining for metals can leave streams not just filled with skin-burning acid, but saturated with lead, mercury, and other metals. While those things are picked up as the acidic water flows through the leftover rubble of the mining, another extremely toxic metal—arsenic—is directly used in recovering gold from ore. An ounce of gold may already seem costly, but the real cost can be measured in vanished fish, dead wildlife, and mountain landscapes turned into toxic horrors.

The sheer scale of some mining operations has so far covered up the size of the difference between what’s been put aside and what’s actually needed. Copper mines in Utah and Arizona have been in near continuous operation since the 1870s. The waste in both areas is measured in the hundreds of billions of tons. How close is either of these states to having even a small fraction of what it would take to attempt to clean up these sites? It’s hard to tell. Most states are allowed “primacy,” the ability to manage their own reclamation programs, and the accounts on what’s been set aside and how it’s been secured are far from consistent.

But while those huge old mines hang out there, the huge new mines are no better, not when rules allow them to pick up federal lands at bargain prices, and mine them with not just reduced concern about environmental issues, but almost no chance of having to pay for it in court even if they’re caught. More permits, fewer inspections, even fewer prosecutions, and companies allowed to walk away from the reclamation cost after owners have pocketed the profits: It’s no wonder these companies love Donald Trump.

Please send comments to: Colby Glass, MLIS, PhDc, Professor Emeritus