• Sanders Unveils Plan to Hike Taxes on Corporations That Pay CEOs 'Hundreds of Times What Their Workers Make'
    https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/09/30/sanders-unveils-plan-hike-taxes-corporations-pay-ceos-hundreds-times-what-their
    Jake Johnson, staff writer

    Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday unveiled a proposal to reduce massive disparities between executive and worker pay by hiking taxes on corporations that pay their CEOs dramatically more than median employees.

    "The American people are sick and tired of corporate CEOs who now make 300 times more than their average employees, while they give themselves huge bonuses and cut back on the healthcare and pension benefits of their employees," Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, said in a statement.

    Sanders's plan would impose a tax increase of 0.5 percent on corporations that pay their CEOs between 50 and 100 times more than their median employees. The penalty would increase progressively for companies with larger CEO-worker pay gaps.

    The senator's website outlines the tax penalties under the "Income Inequality Tax Plan," which would apply to private and public corporations with annual revenues of more than $100 million.

    Companies that pay CEOs between 50 and 100 times more than their median employees: +0.5 percent
    Between 100 and 200 times: +1 percent
    Between 200 and 300 times: +2 percent
    Between 300 and 400 times: +3 percent
    Between 400 and 500 times: +4 percent
    More than 500 times: +5 percent

    If the plan were in effect last year, according to the senator's office, Walmart would have paid as much as $790 million more in taxes, McDonald's as much as $110.9 million more, and JPMorgan Chase as much as $991.6 million more.

    "At a time of massive income and wealth inequality, the American people are demanding that large, profitable corporations pay their fair share of taxes," said Sanders. "It is time to send a message to corporate America: If you do not end your greed and corruption, we will end it for you."

    The Sanders campaign said the revenue raised by the plan would be used to finance the senator's proposal to eliminate all $81 billion of medical debt in the United States.

    The plan comes as a new report released Monday by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) detailed the "staggering" CEO-worker pay gaps at some of America's largest and most profitable corporations. It also comes just days after the Census Bureau found that U.S. inequality in 2018 reached its highest level in five decades.

    "At the 50 publicly traded U.S. corporations with the widest pay gaps in 2018, the typical employee would have to work at least 1,000 years to earn what their CEO made in just one," IPS found. "Among S&P 500 firms, nearly 80 percent paid their CEO more than 100 times their median worker pay in 2018, and nearly 10 percent had median pay below the poverty line for a family of four."

    Sarah Anderson, project director at IPS and lead author of the new report, said in a statement that a tax penalty of the kind proposed by Sanders would "build on the living wage movement by encouraging corporations to lift up the bottom and bring down the top of their wage scales."

    "Such reforms would also give a boost to small businesses and employee-owned firms and cooperatives that spread their resources more equitably than most large corporate enterprises," said Anderson.
    Sanders Unveils Plan to Hike Taxes on Corporations That Pay CEOs 'Hundreds of Times What Their Workers Make' https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/09/30/sanders-unveils-plan-hike-taxes-corporations-pay-ceos-hundreds-times-what-their Jake Johnson, staff writer Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday unveiled a proposal to reduce massive disparities between executive and worker pay by hiking taxes on corporations that pay their CEOs dramatically more than median employees. "The American people are sick and tired of corporate CEOs who now make 300 times more than their average employees, while they give themselves huge bonuses and cut back on the healthcare and pension benefits of their employees," Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, said in a statement. Sanders's plan would impose a tax increase of 0.5 percent on corporations that pay their CEOs between 50 and 100 times more than their median employees. The penalty would increase progressively for companies with larger CEO-worker pay gaps. The senator's website outlines the tax penalties under the "Income Inequality Tax Plan," which would apply to private and public corporations with annual revenues of more than $100 million. Companies that pay CEOs between 50 and 100 times more than their median employees: +0.5 percent Between 100 and 200 times: +1 percent Between 200 and 300 times: +2 percent Between 300 and 400 times: +3 percent Between 400 and 500 times: +4 percent More than 500 times: +5 percent If the plan were in effect last year, according to the senator's office, Walmart would have paid as much as $790 million more in taxes, McDonald's as much as $110.9 million more, and JPMorgan Chase as much as $991.6 million more. "At a time of massive income and wealth inequality, the American people are demanding that large, profitable corporations pay their fair share of taxes," said Sanders. "It is time to send a message to corporate America: If you do not end your greed and corruption, we will end it for you." The Sanders campaign said the revenue raised by the plan would be used to finance the senator's proposal to eliminate all $81 billion of medical debt in the United States. The plan comes as a new report released Monday by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) detailed the "staggering" CEO-worker pay gaps at some of America's largest and most profitable corporations. It also comes just days after the Census Bureau found that U.S. inequality in 2018 reached its highest level in five decades. "At the 50 publicly traded U.S. corporations with the widest pay gaps in 2018, the typical employee would have to work at least 1,000 years to earn what their CEO made in just one," IPS found. "Among S&P 500 firms, nearly 80 percent paid their CEO more than 100 times their median worker pay in 2018, and nearly 10 percent had median pay below the poverty line for a family of four." Sarah Anderson, project director at IPS and lead author of the new report, said in a statement that a tax penalty of the kind proposed by Sanders would "build on the living wage movement by encouraging corporations to lift up the bottom and bring down the top of their wage scales." "Such reforms would also give a boost to small businesses and employee-owned firms and cooperatives that spread their resources more equitably than most large corporate enterprises," said Anderson.
    Sanders Unveils Plan to Hike Taxes on Corporations That Pay CEOs 'Hundreds of Times What Their Workers Make'
    "It is time to send a message to corporate America: If you do not end your greed and corruption, we will end it for you."
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  • Trump to China: I'll Tank The US Economy!
    President Donald Trump wanted to double tariff rates on Chinese goods last month after Beijing’s latest retaliation in a boiling trade war before settling on a smaller increase, three sources told CNBC.

    The president was outraged after he learned Aug. 23 that China had formalized plans to slap duties on $75 billion in U.S. products in response to new tariffs from Washington on Sept. 1.

    His initial reaction, communicated to aides on a White House trade call held that day, was to suggest doubling existing tariffs, according to three people briefed on the matter.

    Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer then enlisted multiple CEOs to call the president and warn him about the impact such a move would have on the stock market and the economy.
    #TYT #TheYoungTurks #CenkUygur #TrumpDumpsOnFarmers #TwitWit
    https://youtu.be/3jl3bGNWTJg
    The Young Turks 9/4/19
    Trump to China: I'll Tank The US Economy! President Donald Trump wanted to double tariff rates on Chinese goods last month after Beijing’s latest retaliation in a boiling trade war before settling on a smaller increase, three sources told CNBC. The president was outraged after he learned Aug. 23 that China had formalized plans to slap duties on $75 billion in U.S. products in response to new tariffs from Washington on Sept. 1. His initial reaction, communicated to aides on a White House trade call held that day, was to suggest doubling existing tariffs, according to three people briefed on the matter. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer then enlisted multiple CEOs to call the president and warn him about the impact such a move would have on the stock market and the economy. #TYT #TheYoungTurks #CenkUygur #TrumpDumpsOnFarmers #TwitWit https://youtu.be/3jl3bGNWTJg The Young Turks 9/4/19
    Trump to China: I'll Tank The US Economy!
    Trump doesn’t understand how the economy works at all. Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down. MORE TYT: https://tyt.com/trial...
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  • "The core of the problem is with the lobbying groups themselves, which manipulate the government into doing the bidding of these corporations. The group that published this paper is a lobbying group.

    There should be a checks and balances system between the government and corporations, but when you allow corporations to lobby the government to change regulations, you eliminate that checks and balances system." - Andrew Anglin

    https://dailystormer.name/group-of-corporate-ceos-declare-their-core-goal-is-no-longer-making-money-it-is-promoting-anal-sex-and-gun-control/
    "The core of the problem is with the lobbying groups themselves, which manipulate the government into doing the bidding of these corporations. The group that published this paper is a lobbying group. There should be a checks and balances system between the government and corporations, but when you allow corporations to lobby the government to change regulations, you eliminate that checks and balances system." - Andrew Anglin https://dailystormer.name/group-of-corporate-ceos-declare-their-core-goal-is-no-longer-making-money-it-is-promoting-anal-sex-and-gun-control/
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  • 'A Message That Would Fit Just Fine in a Paul Ryan Speech': Biden Pilloried for Ad Celebrating Private Health Insurance Industry
    https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/07/26/message-would-fit-just-fine-paul-ryan-speech-biden-pilloried-ad-celebrating-private
    Jake Johnson, staff writer

    Former Vice President Joe Biden doubled down on his defense of the private insurance industry Friday by releasing an ad that critics slammed as a dishonest celebration of America's fundamentally broken healthcare system.

    The ad, which Biden posted on Twitter, is framed as a defense of the Affordable Care Act, but critics immediately interpreted its message as a not-so-subtle dig at Medicare for All.

    The video features a retired union worker named Marcy, who explains how she and her husband "earned" their private insurance and would "prefer to keep the Affordable Care Act."

    "I have my own private insurance," Marcy says. "I don't want to lose it."

    The underlying implication of Marcy's message, as Splinter's Libby Watson wrote, "is that if you didn't work, you didn't earn your healthcare, and you don't deserve what she has—private, better healthcare than Medicare for All, or whatever the masses get."

    "Is Joe Biden running for president of the United States or the private health insurance fan club? It's hard to say at this point," said Watson. "This is a message that would fit in just fine in a Paul Ryan speech. (This is not Marcy's fault, mind you—it's the message Joe Biden wants you to hear.)"

    Watch: [https://twitter.com/JoeBiden/status/1154753637274533888]

    Democracy for America (DFA), a progressive advocacy group, condemned Biden's ad as an attempt to "pit working people and generations against one another to perpetuate a broken healthcare system that values health insurance CEOs' paychecks over people's lives."

    "We know a better world is possible," DFA tweeted, "and that's why we fight for Medicare for All."

    Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) 2020 presidential campaign also hit back at Biden, who has attacked Medicare for All with right-wing talking points on the campaign trail in recent days.

    "Joe Biden releases a new ad for private health insurance companies," tweeted Josh-Miller Lewis, Sanders' digital communications director.

    Marissa Barrera, Sanders' health policy adviser, said she doesn't understand how 'I like my private health insurance' is a valid argument against Medicare for All."

    "If you have a great coverage, congratulations! You’re the exception," tweeted Barrera. "Medicare for All is going to give that level of coverage to everyone and improve your care, too."

    The Biden campaign ad comes two weeks after the former vice president unveiled his healthcare proposal, which would expand ACA subsidies and create a public option.

    "If you like your healthcare plan, your employer-based plan, you can keep it," Biden said of his plan during an AARP forum earlier this month. "If you like your private insurance, you can keep it."

    Sanders, the lead Senate sponsor of the Medicare for All Act of 2019, has called into question the notion that most Americans like their private insurance and would prefer to hold on to it rather than switch to single-payer.

    On Friday, just hours after Biden posted his ad, Sanders posted this campaign video on the need for Medicare for All to his Twitter feed:

    As Common Dreams reported earlier this month, a Morning Consult/Politico poll found that 55 percent of voters, and 78 percent of Democrats, support a Medicare for All plan that phases out private insurance, as long as they are able to keep their providers.

    The Sanders campaign said in a statement at the time that the numbers "only affirm what the senator has said many times: people don't like insurance companies, they like their doctors and their hospitals."

    "Despite what the pharmaceutical and insurance industries will tell you," the campaign said, "Medicare for All is the only proposal that gives Americans the freedom to control their own futures—change jobs, start a family, start a business—and keep their doctor."
    'A Message That Would Fit Just Fine in a Paul Ryan Speech': Biden Pilloried for Ad Celebrating Private Health Insurance Industry https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/07/26/message-would-fit-just-fine-paul-ryan-speech-biden-pilloried-ad-celebrating-private Jake Johnson, staff writer Former Vice President Joe Biden doubled down on his defense of the private insurance industry Friday by releasing an ad that critics slammed as a dishonest celebration of America's fundamentally broken healthcare system. The ad, which Biden posted on Twitter, is framed as a defense of the Affordable Care Act, but critics immediately interpreted its message as a not-so-subtle dig at Medicare for All. The video features a retired union worker named Marcy, who explains how she and her husband "earned" their private insurance and would "prefer to keep the Affordable Care Act." "I have my own private insurance," Marcy says. "I don't want to lose it." The underlying implication of Marcy's message, as Splinter's Libby Watson wrote, "is that if you didn't work, you didn't earn your healthcare, and you don't deserve what she has—private, better healthcare than Medicare for All, or whatever the masses get." "Is Joe Biden running for president of the United States or the private health insurance fan club? It's hard to say at this point," said Watson. "This is a message that would fit in just fine in a Paul Ryan speech. (This is not Marcy's fault, mind you—it's the message Joe Biden wants you to hear.)" Watch: [https://twitter.com/JoeBiden/status/1154753637274533888] Democracy for America (DFA), a progressive advocacy group, condemned Biden's ad as an attempt to "pit working people and generations against one another to perpetuate a broken healthcare system that values health insurance CEOs' paychecks over people's lives." "We know a better world is possible," DFA tweeted, "and that's why we fight for Medicare for All." Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) 2020 presidential campaign also hit back at Biden, who has attacked Medicare for All with right-wing talking points on the campaign trail in recent days. "Joe Biden releases a new ad for private health insurance companies," tweeted Josh-Miller Lewis, Sanders' digital communications director. Marissa Barrera, Sanders' health policy adviser, said she doesn't understand how 'I like my private health insurance' is a valid argument against Medicare for All." "If you have a great coverage, congratulations! You’re the exception," tweeted Barrera. "Medicare for All is going to give that level of coverage to everyone and improve your care, too." The Biden campaign ad comes two weeks after the former vice president unveiled his healthcare proposal, which would expand ACA subsidies and create a public option. "If you like your healthcare plan, your employer-based plan, you can keep it," Biden said of his plan during an AARP forum earlier this month. "If you like your private insurance, you can keep it." Sanders, the lead Senate sponsor of the Medicare for All Act of 2019, has called into question the notion that most Americans like their private insurance and would prefer to hold on to it rather than switch to single-payer. On Friday, just hours after Biden posted his ad, Sanders posted this campaign video on the need for Medicare for All to his Twitter feed: As Common Dreams reported earlier this month, a Morning Consult/Politico poll found that 55 percent of voters, and 78 percent of Democrats, support a Medicare for All plan that phases out private insurance, as long as they are able to keep their providers. The Sanders campaign said in a statement at the time that the numbers "only affirm what the senator has said many times: people don't like insurance companies, they like their doctors and their hospitals." "Despite what the pharmaceutical and insurance industries will tell you," the campaign said, "Medicare for All is the only proposal that gives Americans the freedom to control their own futures—change jobs, start a family, start a business—and keep their doctor."
    'A Message That Would Fit Just Fine in a Paul Ryan Speech': Biden Pilloried for Ad Celebrating Private Health Insurance Industry
    "This web ad from Joe Biden attempts to pit working people and generations against one another to perpetuate a broken healthcare system that values health insurance CEOs' paychecks over people's lives."
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  • 'We Welcome Their Hatred': Sanders Unveils Anti-Endorsement List of Billionaire CEOs and Wall Street Bankers
    https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/07/10/we-welcome-their-hatred-sanders-unveils-anti-endorsement-list-billionaire-ceos-and
    Jake Johnson, staff writer

    Asking the American public to judge his 2020 Democratic presidential campaign by both its supporters and its powerful enemies, Sen. Bernie Sanders on Wednesday unveiled an "anti-endorsement" list consisting of prominent billionaires, Wall Street bankers, and corporate CEOs who have attacked his candidacy and policies.

    "You can tell who is truly fighting for working families by the enemies they make, and we've made a lot of enemies," Sanders said in a statement. "We understand that nothing will fundamentally change for working Americans unless we have the guts to take on the most powerful corporate interests in this country."

    "Therefore it should come as no surprise that corporate CEOs and billionaires have united against our movement," Sanders added. "These people have a vested interest in preserving the status quo so they can keep their grip on power so they can continue to exploit working people across America. We welcome their hatred."

    The Sanders campaign lists the Vermont senator's anti-endorsements on a new webpage. The page includes billionaire Democratic mega-donor Haim Saban, who attacked Sanders as a "disaster zone" in an interview published Wednesday.

    The rest of the list consists of:

    Billionaire Home Depot co-founder Kenneth Langone;
    Former CKE Restaurants CEO Andy Puzder;
    Former Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam;
    JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon;
    Disney CEO Bob Iger;
    Former General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt;
    Former Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein;
    Former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan;
    Centrist think-tank Third Way;
    Former Goldman Sachs partner Leon Cooperman;
    Home Depot co-founder Bernard Marcus; and
    Billionaire hedge fund manager Stanley Druckenmiller.

    "As we fight for an agenda that guarantees basic human rights for all Americans, we will be opposed by the most powerful forces in America," Sanders wrote on his website. "I am proud to announce the modern-day oligarchs who oppose our movement. In the words of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt: 'They are unanimous in their hate for me–and I welcome their hatred.'"

    "We will overcome their greed," said Sanders, "and create an economy and a government that works for all, not just the one percent.
    'We Welcome Their Hatred': Sanders Unveils Anti-Endorsement List of Billionaire CEOs and Wall Street Bankers https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/07/10/we-welcome-their-hatred-sanders-unveils-anti-endorsement-list-billionaire-ceos-and Jake Johnson, staff writer Asking the American public to judge his 2020 Democratic presidential campaign by both its supporters and its powerful enemies, Sen. Bernie Sanders on Wednesday unveiled an "anti-endorsement" list consisting of prominent billionaires, Wall Street bankers, and corporate CEOs who have attacked his candidacy and policies. "You can tell who is truly fighting for working families by the enemies they make, and we've made a lot of enemies," Sanders said in a statement. "We understand that nothing will fundamentally change for working Americans unless we have the guts to take on the most powerful corporate interests in this country." "Therefore it should come as no surprise that corporate CEOs and billionaires have united against our movement," Sanders added. "These people have a vested interest in preserving the status quo so they can keep their grip on power so they can continue to exploit working people across America. We welcome their hatred." The Sanders campaign lists the Vermont senator's anti-endorsements on a new webpage. The page includes billionaire Democratic mega-donor Haim Saban, who attacked Sanders as a "disaster zone" in an interview published Wednesday. The rest of the list consists of: Billionaire Home Depot co-founder Kenneth Langone; Former CKE Restaurants CEO Andy Puzder; Former Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam; JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon; Disney CEO Bob Iger; Former General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt; Former Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein; Former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan; Centrist think-tank Third Way; Former Goldman Sachs partner Leon Cooperman; Home Depot co-founder Bernard Marcus; and Billionaire hedge fund manager Stanley Druckenmiller. "As we fight for an agenda that guarantees basic human rights for all Americans, we will be opposed by the most powerful forces in America," Sanders wrote on his website. "I am proud to announce the modern-day oligarchs who oppose our movement. In the words of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt: 'They are unanimous in their hate for me–and I welcome their hatred.'" "We will overcome their greed," said Sanders, "and create an economy and a government that works for all, not just the one percent.
    'We Welcome Their Hatred': Sanders Unveils Anti-Endorsement List of Billionaire CEOs and Wall Street Bankers
    "I am proud to announce the modern-day oligarchs who oppose our movement."
    WWW.COMMONDREAMS.ORG
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  • #Chosen #TheChosenOne
    June 2 But you are A #CHOSENRACE, A #royal #PRIESTHOOD, A #HOLYNATION, A #PEOPLE FOR #Gods OWN #POSSESSION, so that you may #proclaim the #excellencies of Him who has called you #outOfDarkness into #His #marvelousLight; 1 #Peter 2:9

    A #BibleStudy #group I remember consisted of #doctors, #attorneys, #CEOs, #vicePresidents, #entrepreneurialGeniuses and a #streetSweeper. In the initial #meeting, the group #leader asked each to #identifyHimself. “I am a #physician,” said one. “I’m an #attorney,” another responded. “I’m #vicePresident for #operations,” answered a third. “I am a #sonOfTheKing,” the street sweeper said. He had no #identity in the #world in which he could #boast, but he knew his #coreIdentity.


    The others were #clouded by their #earthlyTitles, but the #street #sweeper knew he was #chosen by the #KingofKings to be a #son, with all the #privileges, #promises and #honors of that #highPosition." https://mailchi.mp/9d54d195870c/his-image-452449?e=9cbe669f39 #YHWH #JesusChrist #Christ #Jesus #TheLivingGod #TheOneTrueGod #AlphaAndOmega #FirstAndLast #promise #heaven #holy #dailyinspiration #success #dailymotivation #motivation #inspiration #motivationalquote #lifehack #victory #fact #bible #overcome #life #Profession #Job #JobTitle #Roalty #Promotion #RiseAboveIt
    #Chosen #TheChosenOne June 2 But you are A #CHOSENRACE, A #royal #PRIESTHOOD, A #HOLYNATION, A #PEOPLE FOR #Gods OWN #POSSESSION, so that you may #proclaim the #excellencies of Him who has called you #outOfDarkness into #His #marvelousLight; 1 #Peter 2:9 A #BibleStudy #group I remember consisted of #doctors, #attorneys, #CEOs, #vicePresidents, #entrepreneurialGeniuses and a #streetSweeper. In the initial #meeting, the group #leader asked each to #identifyHimself. “I am a #physician,” said one. “I’m an #attorney,” another responded. “I’m #vicePresident for #operations,” answered a third. “I am a #sonOfTheKing,” the street sweeper said. He had no #identity in the #world in which he could #boast, but he knew his #coreIdentity. The others were #clouded by their #earthlyTitles, but the #street #sweeper knew he was #chosen by the #KingofKings to be a #son, with all the #privileges, #promises and #honors of that #highPosition." https://mailchi.mp/9d54d195870c/his-image-452449?e=9cbe669f39 #YHWH #JesusChrist #Christ #Jesus #TheLivingGod #TheOneTrueGod #AlphaAndOmega #FirstAndLast #promise #heaven #holy #dailyinspiration #success #dailymotivation #motivation #inspiration #motivationalquote #lifehack #victory #fact #bible #overcome #life #Profession #Job #JobTitle #Roalty #Promotion #RiseAboveIt
    Chosen
    Chosen by the King of Kings
    MAILCHI.MP
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  • New Analysis Reveals Inequality Chasm Between CEOs and Workers 'Totally Out of Control'
    https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/05/24/new-analysis-reveals-inequality-chasm-between-ceos-and-workers-totally-out-control
    Julia Conley, staff writer

    Two studies by the executive compensation firm Equilar on Friday revealed that CEOs of some of the wealthiest companies in the U.S. are seeing their pay rise at about twice the rate of the workers who make the day-to-day operations of their businesses run.

    The Associated Press commissioned a study of compensation for 340 executives at S&P 500 companies which revealed that the CEOs earned raises averaging $800,000 in 2018—a seven percent increase over the previous year.

    Workers would need to work 158 consecutive years to earn what their bosses make in one year, the AP reported.

    "This is not sustainable," wrote Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, in response to the AP report.

    Equilar also conducted an annual survey for the New York Times, examining compensation for 200 of the highest-paid executives in the country.

    CEOs at companies including Tesla, Oracle, and T-Mobile saw their pay increase by an average of $1.1 million in 2018, bringing their median compensation to $18.6 million.

    American workers were given a raise of just 84 cents on average, reported the Times.

    CEOs were paid exorbitant sums "regardless of scandal," Times reporter Peter Eavis wrote, with many companies paying their leaders millions above their base salary just "to do the basics" of their jobs.

    Timothy Sloan, for example, stepped down from his post at the helm of Wells Fargo this year after coming under fire for presiding over the bank where employees had opened fraudulent accounts in customers' names and sold them insurance that they didn't need. Sloan walked away with stock grants worth over $24 million.

    Meanwhile, Disney CEO Robert Iger and T-Mobile head John Legere received tens of millions in extra compensation to reward them for leading their companies through mergers—even though as Eavis wrote, "carrying out mergers could be considered a core part of a CEO's job description, and not deserving of extra pay."

    The firm's findings were bolstered by Bloomberg News' recent report on how the wealthiest CEOs in the U.S. were compensated in 2018.

    Pedro Nicolaci da Costa of the Economic Policy Institute tweeted that mounting reports on astronomical executive compensation reveals that "CEO pay is totally out of control."

    Both Equilar reports come amid intensifying anger from progressive lawmakers like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-N.Y.) and presidential candidates Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

    Sanders has frequently decried out-of-control income inequality, epitomized by the fact that the three wealthiest American families own more wealth than the bottom 50 percent of earners.

    One of Warren's first policy proposals as a presidential candidate was her Ultra-Millionaires Tax, which would tax wealth over $50 million at three percent per year.

    Montana Gov. and presidential candidate Steve Bullock tweeted a link to the Times report, writing, "We can get our country back on track, but that starts with ensuring every working family gets a fair shot at success."

    Steve Bullock ✔ @GovernorBullock
    The highest paid CEOs got a median raise of $1.1 million—even as American workers haven’t had a pay raise in real terms for 40 years. We can get our country back on track, but that starts with ensuring every working family gets a fair shot at success.
    2:48 PM - May 24, 2019
    New Analysis Reveals Inequality Chasm Between CEOs and Workers 'Totally Out of Control' https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/05/24/new-analysis-reveals-inequality-chasm-between-ceos-and-workers-totally-out-control Julia Conley, staff writer Two studies by the executive compensation firm Equilar on Friday revealed that CEOs of some of the wealthiest companies in the U.S. are seeing their pay rise at about twice the rate of the workers who make the day-to-day operations of their businesses run. The Associated Press commissioned a study of compensation for 340 executives at S&P 500 companies which revealed that the CEOs earned raises averaging $800,000 in 2018—a seven percent increase over the previous year. Workers would need to work 158 consecutive years to earn what their bosses make in one year, the AP reported. "This is not sustainable," wrote Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, in response to the AP report. Equilar also conducted an annual survey for the New York Times, examining compensation for 200 of the highest-paid executives in the country. CEOs at companies including Tesla, Oracle, and T-Mobile saw their pay increase by an average of $1.1 million in 2018, bringing their median compensation to $18.6 million. American workers were given a raise of just 84 cents on average, reported the Times. CEOs were paid exorbitant sums "regardless of scandal," Times reporter Peter Eavis wrote, with many companies paying their leaders millions above their base salary just "to do the basics" of their jobs. Timothy Sloan, for example, stepped down from his post at the helm of Wells Fargo this year after coming under fire for presiding over the bank where employees had opened fraudulent accounts in customers' names and sold them insurance that they didn't need. Sloan walked away with stock grants worth over $24 million. Meanwhile, Disney CEO Robert Iger and T-Mobile head John Legere received tens of millions in extra compensation to reward them for leading their companies through mergers—even though as Eavis wrote, "carrying out mergers could be considered a core part of a CEO's job description, and not deserving of extra pay." The firm's findings were bolstered by Bloomberg News' recent report on how the wealthiest CEOs in the U.S. were compensated in 2018. Pedro Nicolaci da Costa of the Economic Policy Institute tweeted that mounting reports on astronomical executive compensation reveals that "CEO pay is totally out of control." Both Equilar reports come amid intensifying anger from progressive lawmakers like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-N.Y.) and presidential candidates Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). Sanders has frequently decried out-of-control income inequality, epitomized by the fact that the three wealthiest American families own more wealth than the bottom 50 percent of earners. One of Warren's first policy proposals as a presidential candidate was her Ultra-Millionaires Tax, which would tax wealth over $50 million at three percent per year. Montana Gov. and presidential candidate Steve Bullock tweeted a link to the Times report, writing, "We can get our country back on track, but that starts with ensuring every working family gets a fair shot at success." Steve Bullock ✔ @GovernorBullock The highest paid CEOs got a median raise of $1.1 million—even as American workers haven’t had a pay raise in real terms for 40 years. We can get our country back on track, but that starts with ensuring every working family gets a fair shot at success. 2:48 PM - May 24, 2019
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  • Plenty of 'Collusion' for The Ultimate Crime: Lighting the Earth on Fire
    https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/04/25/plenty-collusion-ultimate-crime-lighting-earth-fire
    Tom Engelhardt

    As Notre Dame burned, as the flames leapt from its roof of ancient timbers, many of us watched in grim horror.

    Hour after hour, on screen after screen, channel after channel, you could see that 850-year-old cathedral, a visiting spot for 13 million people annually, being gutted, its roof timbers flaring into the evening sky, its steeple collapsing in a ball of fire.

    It was dramatic and deeply disturbing -- and, of course, unwilling to be left out of any headline-making event, President Trump promptly tweeted his advice to the French authorities: “Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!”

    No matter that water from such planes would probably have taken the cathedral’s towers down and endangered lives as well -- "the equivalent," according to a French fire chief, “of dropping three tons of concrete at 250 kilometers per hour [on] the ancient monument.”

    Still, who could doubt that watching such a monument to the human endeavor being transformed into a shell of its former self was a reminder that everything human is mortal; that, whether in a single lifetime or 850 years, even the most ancient of our artifacts, like those in Iraq and Syria recently, will sooner or later be scourged by the equivalent of (or even quite literally by) fire and sword; that nothing truly lasts, even the most seemingly permanent of things like, until now, Notre Dame?

    "We are, of course, talking about nothing short of the ultimate crime, but on any given day of our lives, you’d hardly notice that it was underway."

    That cathedral in flames, unlike so much else in our moment (including you-know-who in his every waking moment), deserved the front-and-center media attention it got.

    Historically speaking, it was a burning event of the first order.

    Still, it's strange that the most unnerving, deeply terrifying burning underway today, not of that ancient place of worship that lived with humanity for so many tumultuous centuries but of the planet itself, remains largely in the background.

    When the cathedral in which Napoleon briefly crowned himself emperor seemed likely to collapse, it was certifiably an event of headline importance.

    When, however, the cathedral (if you care to think of it that way) in which humanity has been nurtured all these tens of thousands of years, on which we spread, developed, and became what we are today -- I mean, of course, the planet itself -- is in danger of an unprecedented sort from fires we continue to set, that’s hardly news at all.

    It’s largely relegated to the back pages of our attention, lost any day of the week to headlines about a disturbed, suicidal young woman obsessed with the Columbine school massacre or an attorney general obsessed with protecting the president.

    And let’s not kid ourselves, this planet of ours is beginning to burn -- and not just last week or month either.

    It’s been smoldering for decades now.

    Last summer, for instance, amid global heat records:
    Ouargla, Algeria, 124 degrees Fahrenheit;
    Hong Kong, over 91 degrees Fahrenheit for 16 straight days;
    Nawabsha, Pakistan, 122 degrees Fahrenheit;
    Oslo, Norway, over 86 degrees Fahrenheit for 16 consecutive days;
    Los Angeles, 108 degrees Fahrenheit,
    AND wildfires raged inside the Arctic Circle.

    This March, in case you hadn’t noticed -- and why would you, since it’s gotten so little attention? -- the temperature in Alaska was, on average, 20 degrees (yes, that is not a misprint) above normal and typical ice roads between villages and towns across parts of that state were melting and collapsing with deaths ensuing.

    Meanwhile, in the Antarctic, ice is melting at a rate startling to scientists.

    If the process accelerates, global sea levels could rise far faster than expected, beginning to drown coastal cities like Miami, New York, and Shanghai more quickly than previously imagined.

    Meanwhile, globally, the wildfire season is lengthening.

    Fearsome fires are on the rise, as are droughts, and that’s just to begin to paint a picture of a heating planet and its ever more extreme weather systems and storms, of (if you care to think of it that way) a Whole Earth version of Notre Dame.

    The Arsonists Arrive

    As was true with Notre Dame, when it comes to the planet, there were fire alarms before an actual blaze was fully noted.

    Take, for example, the advisory panel of scientists reporting to President Lyndon Johnson on the phenomenon of global warming back in 1965.

    They would, in fact, predict with remarkable accuracy how our world was going to change for the worse by this twenty-first-century moment. (And Johnson, in turn, would bring the subject up officially for perhaps the first time in a Special Message to Congress on February 5, 1965, 54 years before Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal proposal.)

    As that panel wrote at the time, “Through his worldwide industrial civilization, Man is unwittingly conducting a vast geophysical experiment. Within a few generations he is burning the fossil fuels that slowly accumulated in the earth over the past 500 million years...”

    In other words, the alarm was first sounded more than half a century ago.

    When it comes to climate change, however, as the smoke began to appear and, in our own moment, the first flames began to leap—after all, the last four years have been the hottest on record and, despite the growth of ever less expensive alternative energy sources, carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere are still rising, not falling—no firemen arrived (just children).

    There were essentially no adults to put out the blaze.

    Yes, there was the Paris climate accord but it was largely an agreement in principle without enforcement power of any genuine sort.

    In fact, across significant parts of the planet, those who appeared weren’t firefighters at all, but fire feeders who will likely prove to be the ultimate arsonists of human history. In a way, it's been an extraordinary performance.

    Leaders who vied for, or actually gained, power not only refused to recognize the existence of climate change but were quite literally eager to aid and abet the phenomenon.

    This is true, for instance, of the new president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, who came to power prepared to turn the already endangered carbon sink of the Amazon rain forest into a playground for corporate and agricultural destroyers.

    It is similarly true in Europe, where right-wing populist movements have begun to successfully oppose gestures toward dealing with climate change, gaining both attention and votes in the process.

    In Poland, for instance, just such a party led by President Andrzej Duda has come to power and the promotion of coal production has become the order of the day.

    And none of that compared to developments in the richest, most powerful country of all, the one that historically has put more greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere than any other.

    On taking office, Donald Trump appointed more climate-change deniers to his cabinet than might have previously seemed possible and swore fealty to “American energy dominance,” while working to kneecap the development of alternative energy systems.

    He and his men tried to open new areas to oil and gas drilling, while in every way imaginable striving to remove what limits there had been on Big Energy, so that it could release its carbon emissions into the atmosphere unimpeded. And as the planetary cathedral began to burn, the president set the mood for the moment (at least for his vaunted “base”) by tweeting such things as “It's really cold outside, they are calling it a major freeze, weeks ahead of normal.

    Man, we could use a big fat dose of global warming!” or, on alternative energy, “You would be doing wind, windmills, and if it doesn’t if it doesn’t blow you can forget about television for that night... Darling, I want to watch television. I’m sorry, the wind isn’t blowing.”

    Among those who will someday be considered the greatest criminals in history, don’t forget the Big Energy CEOs who, knowing the truth about climate change from their own hired scientists, did everything they could to increase global doubts by funding climate-denying groups, while continuing to be among the most profitable companies around.

    They even hedged their bets by, among other things, investing in alternative energy and using it to more effectively drill for oil and natural gas.

    Meanwhile, of course, the planet that had proven such a comfortable home for humanity was visibly going down.

    No, climate change won’t actually destroy the Earth itself, just the conditions under which humanity (and so many other species) thrived on it.

    Sooner or later, if the global temperature is indeed allowed to rise a catastrophic seven degrees Fahrenheit or four degrees Celsius, as an environmental impact statement from the Trump administration suggested it would by 2100, parts of the planet could become uninhabitable, hundreds of millions of human beings could be set in desperate motion, and the weather could intensify in ways that might be nearly unbearable for human habitation.

    Just read David Wallace-Wells’s The Uninhabitable Earth, if you doubt me.

    This isn’t even contestable information anymore and yet it’s perfectly possible that Donald Trump could be elected to a second term in 2020.

    It’s perfectly possible that more right-wing populist movements could sweep into power in Europe.

    It’s perfectly possible that Vladimir Putin’s version of great powerdom—a sagging Russian petro-state—could continue on its present globally warming path well into the future.

    Understand this: Trump, Bolsonaro, Duda, Putin, and the others are just part of human history.

    Sooner or later, they will be gone.

    Climate change, however, is not part of human history (whatever it may do to civilization as we know it).

    Its effects could, in human terms, last for almost unimaginable periods of time.

    It operates on a different time scale entirely, which means that, unlike the tragedies and nightmares of human history, it is not just a passing matter.

    Of course, the planet will survive, as will some life forms (as would be true even if humanity were to succumb to that other possible path to an apocalypse, a nuclear holocaust resulting in “nuclear winter”).

    But that should be considered small consolation indeed.

    Putting the Planet on a Suicide Watch

    Consider global warming a story for the ages, one that should put Notre Dame’s near-destruction after almost nine centuries in grim perspective.

    And yet the planetary version of burning, which should be humanity’s crisis of all crises, has been met with a general lack of media attention, reflecting a lack of just about every other kind of attention in our world (except by those outraged children who know that they are going to inherit a degraded world and are increasingly making their displeasure about it felt).

    To take just one example of that lack of obvious attention, the response of the mega-wealthy to the burning of Notre Dame was an almost instantaneous burst of giving.

    The euro equivalent of nearly a billion dollars was raised more or less overnight from the wealthiest of French families and other .01%ers.

    Remind me of the equivalent for climate change as the planet’s spire threatens to come down?

    As for arsonists like Donald Trump and the matter of collusion, there’s not even a question mark on the subject.

    In the United States, such collusion with the destroyers of human life on Planet Earth is written all over their actions.

    It’s beyond evident in the appointment of former oil and gas lobbyists and fellow travelers to positions of power.

    Will there, however, be the equivalent of a Mueller investigation?

    Will the president be howling “witch hunt” again?

    Not a chance.

    When it comes to Donald Trump and climate change, there will be neither a Mueller Report, nor the need for a classic Barr defense.

    And yet collusion—hell, yeah!

    The evidence is beyond overwhelming.

    We are, of course, talking about nothing short of the ultimate crime, but on any given day of our lives, you’d hardly notice that it was underway.

    Even for an old man like me, it’s a terrifying thing to watch humanity make a decision, however inchoate, to essentially commit suicide.

    In effect, there is now a suicide watch on Planet Earth.

    Let’s hope the kids can make a difference.
    Plenty of 'Collusion' for The Ultimate Crime: Lighting the Earth on Fire https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/04/25/plenty-collusion-ultimate-crime-lighting-earth-fire Tom Engelhardt As Notre Dame burned, as the flames leapt from its roof of ancient timbers, many of us watched in grim horror. Hour after hour, on screen after screen, channel after channel, you could see that 850-year-old cathedral, a visiting spot for 13 million people annually, being gutted, its roof timbers flaring into the evening sky, its steeple collapsing in a ball of fire. It was dramatic and deeply disturbing -- and, of course, unwilling to be left out of any headline-making event, President Trump promptly tweeted his advice to the French authorities: “Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!” No matter that water from such planes would probably have taken the cathedral’s towers down and endangered lives as well -- "the equivalent," according to a French fire chief, “of dropping three tons of concrete at 250 kilometers per hour [on] the ancient monument.” Still, who could doubt that watching such a monument to the human endeavor being transformed into a shell of its former self was a reminder that everything human is mortal; that, whether in a single lifetime or 850 years, even the most ancient of our artifacts, like those in Iraq and Syria recently, will sooner or later be scourged by the equivalent of (or even quite literally by) fire and sword; that nothing truly lasts, even the most seemingly permanent of things like, until now, Notre Dame? "We are, of course, talking about nothing short of the ultimate crime, but on any given day of our lives, you’d hardly notice that it was underway." That cathedral in flames, unlike so much else in our moment (including you-know-who in his every waking moment), deserved the front-and-center media attention it got. Historically speaking, it was a burning event of the first order. Still, it's strange that the most unnerving, deeply terrifying burning underway today, not of that ancient place of worship that lived with humanity for so many tumultuous centuries but of the planet itself, remains largely in the background. When the cathedral in which Napoleon briefly crowned himself emperor seemed likely to collapse, it was certifiably an event of headline importance. When, however, the cathedral (if you care to think of it that way) in which humanity has been nurtured all these tens of thousands of years, on which we spread, developed, and became what we are today -- I mean, of course, the planet itself -- is in danger of an unprecedented sort from fires we continue to set, that’s hardly news at all. It’s largely relegated to the back pages of our attention, lost any day of the week to headlines about a disturbed, suicidal young woman obsessed with the Columbine school massacre or an attorney general obsessed with protecting the president. And let’s not kid ourselves, this planet of ours is beginning to burn -- and not just last week or month either. It’s been smoldering for decades now. Last summer, for instance, amid global heat records: Ouargla, Algeria, 124 degrees Fahrenheit; Hong Kong, over 91 degrees Fahrenheit for 16 straight days; Nawabsha, Pakistan, 122 degrees Fahrenheit; Oslo, Norway, over 86 degrees Fahrenheit for 16 consecutive days; Los Angeles, 108 degrees Fahrenheit, AND wildfires raged inside the Arctic Circle. This March, in case you hadn’t noticed -- and why would you, since it’s gotten so little attention? -- the temperature in Alaska was, on average, 20 degrees (yes, that is not a misprint) above normal and typical ice roads between villages and towns across parts of that state were melting and collapsing with deaths ensuing. Meanwhile, in the Antarctic, ice is melting at a rate startling to scientists. If the process accelerates, global sea levels could rise far faster than expected, beginning to drown coastal cities like Miami, New York, and Shanghai more quickly than previously imagined. Meanwhile, globally, the wildfire season is lengthening. Fearsome fires are on the rise, as are droughts, and that’s just to begin to paint a picture of a heating planet and its ever more extreme weather systems and storms, of (if you care to think of it that way) a Whole Earth version of Notre Dame. The Arsonists Arrive As was true with Notre Dame, when it comes to the planet, there were fire alarms before an actual blaze was fully noted. Take, for example, the advisory panel of scientists reporting to President Lyndon Johnson on the phenomenon of global warming back in 1965. They would, in fact, predict with remarkable accuracy how our world was going to change for the worse by this twenty-first-century moment. (And Johnson, in turn, would bring the subject up officially for perhaps the first time in a Special Message to Congress on February 5, 1965, 54 years before Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal proposal.) As that panel wrote at the time, “Through his worldwide industrial civilization, Man is unwittingly conducting a vast geophysical experiment. Within a few generations he is burning the fossil fuels that slowly accumulated in the earth over the past 500 million years...” In other words, the alarm was first sounded more than half a century ago. When it comes to climate change, however, as the smoke began to appear and, in our own moment, the first flames began to leap—after all, the last four years have been the hottest on record and, despite the growth of ever less expensive alternative energy sources, carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere are still rising, not falling—no firemen arrived (just children). There were essentially no adults to put out the blaze. Yes, there was the Paris climate accord but it was largely an agreement in principle without enforcement power of any genuine sort. In fact, across significant parts of the planet, those who appeared weren’t firefighters at all, but fire feeders who will likely prove to be the ultimate arsonists of human history. In a way, it's been an extraordinary performance. Leaders who vied for, or actually gained, power not only refused to recognize the existence of climate change but were quite literally eager to aid and abet the phenomenon. This is true, for instance, of the new president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, who came to power prepared to turn the already endangered carbon sink of the Amazon rain forest into a playground for corporate and agricultural destroyers. It is similarly true in Europe, where right-wing populist movements have begun to successfully oppose gestures toward dealing with climate change, gaining both attention and votes in the process. In Poland, for instance, just such a party led by President Andrzej Duda has come to power and the promotion of coal production has become the order of the day. And none of that compared to developments in the richest, most powerful country of all, the one that historically has put more greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere than any other. On taking office, Donald Trump appointed more climate-change deniers to his cabinet than might have previously seemed possible and swore fealty to “American energy dominance,” while working to kneecap the development of alternative energy systems. He and his men tried to open new areas to oil and gas drilling, while in every way imaginable striving to remove what limits there had been on Big Energy, so that it could release its carbon emissions into the atmosphere unimpeded. And as the planetary cathedral began to burn, the president set the mood for the moment (at least for his vaunted “base”) by tweeting such things as “It's really cold outside, they are calling it a major freeze, weeks ahead of normal. Man, we could use a big fat dose of global warming!” or, on alternative energy, “You would be doing wind, windmills, and if it doesn’t if it doesn’t blow you can forget about television for that night... Darling, I want to watch television. I’m sorry, the wind isn’t blowing.” Among those who will someday be considered the greatest criminals in history, don’t forget the Big Energy CEOs who, knowing the truth about climate change from their own hired scientists, did everything they could to increase global doubts by funding climate-denying groups, while continuing to be among the most profitable companies around. They even hedged their bets by, among other things, investing in alternative energy and using it to more effectively drill for oil and natural gas. Meanwhile, of course, the planet that had proven such a comfortable home for humanity was visibly going down. No, climate change won’t actually destroy the Earth itself, just the conditions under which humanity (and so many other species) thrived on it. Sooner or later, if the global temperature is indeed allowed to rise a catastrophic seven degrees Fahrenheit or four degrees Celsius, as an environmental impact statement from the Trump administration suggested it would by 2100, parts of the planet could become uninhabitable, hundreds of millions of human beings could be set in desperate motion, and the weather could intensify in ways that might be nearly unbearable for human habitation. Just read David Wallace-Wells’s The Uninhabitable Earth, if you doubt me. This isn’t even contestable information anymore and yet it’s perfectly possible that Donald Trump could be elected to a second term in 2020. It’s perfectly possible that more right-wing populist movements could sweep into power in Europe. It’s perfectly possible that Vladimir Putin’s version of great powerdom—a sagging Russian petro-state—could continue on its present globally warming path well into the future. Understand this: Trump, Bolsonaro, Duda, Putin, and the others are just part of human history. Sooner or later, they will be gone. Climate change, however, is not part of human history (whatever it may do to civilization as we know it). Its effects could, in human terms, last for almost unimaginable periods of time. It operates on a different time scale entirely, which means that, unlike the tragedies and nightmares of human history, it is not just a passing matter. Of course, the planet will survive, as will some life forms (as would be true even if humanity were to succumb to that other possible path to an apocalypse, a nuclear holocaust resulting in “nuclear winter”). But that should be considered small consolation indeed. Putting the Planet on a Suicide Watch Consider global warming a story for the ages, one that should put Notre Dame’s near-destruction after almost nine centuries in grim perspective. And yet the planetary version of burning, which should be humanity’s crisis of all crises, has been met with a general lack of media attention, reflecting a lack of just about every other kind of attention in our world (except by those outraged children who know that they are going to inherit a degraded world and are increasingly making their displeasure about it felt). To take just one example of that lack of obvious attention, the response of the mega-wealthy to the burning of Notre Dame was an almost instantaneous burst of giving. The euro equivalent of nearly a billion dollars was raised more or less overnight from the wealthiest of French families and other .01%ers. Remind me of the equivalent for climate change as the planet’s spire threatens to come down? As for arsonists like Donald Trump and the matter of collusion, there’s not even a question mark on the subject. In the United States, such collusion with the destroyers of human life on Planet Earth is written all over their actions. It’s beyond evident in the appointment of former oil and gas lobbyists and fellow travelers to positions of power. Will there, however, be the equivalent of a Mueller investigation? Will the president be howling “witch hunt” again? Not a chance. When it comes to Donald Trump and climate change, there will be neither a Mueller Report, nor the need for a classic Barr defense. And yet collusion—hell, yeah! The evidence is beyond overwhelming. We are, of course, talking about nothing short of the ultimate crime, but on any given day of our lives, you’d hardly notice that it was underway. Even for an old man like me, it’s a terrifying thing to watch humanity make a decision, however inchoate, to essentially commit suicide. In effect, there is now a suicide watch on Planet Earth. Let’s hope the kids can make a difference.
    Plenty of 'Collusion' for The Ultimate Crime: Lighting the Earth on Fire
    Despite knowing the flames were rising, the arsonists all got together.. As Notre Dame burned, as the flames leapt from its roof of ancient timbers, many of us watched in grim horror.
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  • Julian Assange’s life is in danger
    https://desultoryheroics.com/2019/04/16/julian-assanges-life-is-in-danger/
    Posted By Luther Blissett
    By Eric London 4/17/19

    Following Thursday’s arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in London, the governments of the US, Britain and Ecuador are engaged in a conspiracy to facilitate the whistleblower’s extraordinary rendition to the US.

    Julian Assange’s life and liberty is in imminent danger. It is necessary to mobilize all supporters of free speech to prevent him from falling into the hands of the American government.

    Over 40 years ago, a Rand Corporation analyst Daniel Ellsberg provided the Washington Post with evidence regarding the US government’s illegal activity in the Vietnam War.

    Yesterday, Ellsberg issued the following statement:

    It’s a very serious assault on the First Amendment. A clear attempt to rescind the freedom of the press…This is the first indictment of a journalist and editor or publisher, Julian Assange.

    And if it’s successful it will not be the last.

    This is clearly is a part of President Trump’s war on the press, what he calls the enemy of the state.

    And if he succeeds in putting Julian Assange in prison, where I think he’ll be for life, if he goes there at all, probably the first charge against him is only a few years.

    But that’s probably just the first of many.

    The official pretext being used to extradite Assange is a transparent lie.

    In a previously-sealed indictment made public Thursday, the US Department of Justice charged Assange only with violating a federal law against conspiring to break passwords to government computers.

    The fact that the crime carries only a 5-year sentence and does not fall under the Espionage Act provides all involved parties with a cover for handing Assange over to the Americans.

    In particular, the US-UK extradition treaty excludes transfer for “political offenses,” including espionage.

    Citing the Justice Department document, the British government will claim in courts that Assange’s extradition will not be prevented by this exclusion.

    The Ecuadoran government, moreover, claims it could revoke Assange’s asylum because the indictment shows he will not face the threat of the death penalty.

    In fact, once Assange is in the hands of the United States, he will quickly confront a series of additional charges, including espionage.

    The efforts to downplay the threat to the freedom of the press and understate the charge against Assange are aimed at sowing complacency in the population and distracting from the core free speech issues at stake.

    The language of the indictment itself makes clear the government is targeting Assange for political reasons, despite the official charge at its conclusion. It asserts:

    “The primary purpose of the conspiracy was to facilitate [Chelsea] Manning’s acquisition and transmission of classified information related to the national defense of the United States so that WikiLeaks could publicly disseminate the information on its website.”

    The indictment notes that the information WikiLeaks released to the public included “approximately 90,000 Afghanistan war-related significant activity reports, 400,000 Iraq war-related significant activities reports, 800 Guantanamo Bay detainee assessment briefs, and 250,000 U.S. Department of State cables.

    Many of these records were classified pursuant to Executive Order No. 13526,” signed by Barack Obama in 2009.

    The indictment claims these releases “reasonably could be expected to cause serious damage to the national security.”

    This language mirrors the text of the Espionage Act, which bars releasing information “relating to the national defense.”

    The Espionage Act criminalizes anyone who “communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered or transmitted” such information.

    Based on the language of the indictment, both Assange and Manning could face criminal persecution under this law.

    By announcing that Assange is being prosecuted based explicitly on Manning’s activity, the government is demonstrating her future is at risk as well.

    In fact, the first two words of the indictment are “Chelsea Manning.”

    This language also confirms last year’s “inadvertent” release by prosecutors of documents arguing Assange should be extradited because there are “charges”—plural—against him.

    Prosecutors convened a secret grand jury to investigate Assange at least as far back as 2011, and the US government sought warrants to spy on WikiLeaks employees based on allegations of “espionage” in 2012.

    Only the complicit or the naïve could accept that a secret grand jury spent over eight years to charge Assange with just one count of password manipulation.

    The response of leading political figures in the US, as well as previous statements, makes clear that the ruling elite is eager to seize Assange and lock him up for life—if not impose worse punishments.

    Democratic Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer tweeted, “I hope he will soon be held to account for his meddling in our elections on behalf of Putin and the Russian government.”

    Democratic Senator Mark Warner called Assange “a direct participant in Russian efforts to weaken the West and undermine American security. I hope British courts will quickly transfer him to U.S. custody so he can finally get the justice he deserves.”

    Prosecuting Assange on the basis of the unfounded allegations of “meddling” would be charges of espionage.

    Like a dungeon master who has been handed his latest victim, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin declared: “He is our property and we can get the facts and the truth from him.”

    On the basis of this statement, Assange is being transferred to the US for the purpose of interrogation—which would fall under the category of extraordinary rendition, not extradition.

    Assange has also faced open death threats in the press and from the government over the past several years.

    Rightwing radio personality Rush Limbaugh called for Assange to receive “a bullet to the brain.”

    Former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly told Assange: “We’re going to hang you.”

    Former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said, “Julian Assange is engaged in terrorism and should be treated as an enemy combatant.”

    Democratic Vice President Joe Biden called Assange a “high-tech terrorist.”

    Democratic operative Bob Beckel said, “this guy’s a traitor” and the US should “illegally shoot the son of a b***h.”

    Another function of the indictment is to provide the corrupt and lying media with a cover for applauding Assange’s arrest.

    The New York Times and Washington Post have played a particularly criminal role in downplaying the indictment by claiming the use of a lesser charge means prosecuting Assange poses no threat to free speech.

    In an editorial board statement yesterday, the New York Times wrote:

    “The government charged Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, not with publishing classified government information, but with stealing it, skirting—for now—critical First Amendment questions.”

    The single count against Assange, the Times wrote, means the arrest does not pose “a direct challenge to the distinction between a journalist exposing abuse of power through leaked materials—something traditional newspapers like the Times do all the time—and a foreign agent seeking to undermine the security of the United States through theft or subterfuge… The administration has begun well by charging Mr. Assange with an indisputable crime.”

    The Washington Post’s editorial is titled, “Julian Assange is not a free-press hero. And he is long overdue for personal accountability.”

    The Post wrote, “Mr. Assange’s case could conclude as a victory for the rule of law, not the defeat for civil liberties of which his defenders mistakenly warn.”

    The Post labeled concerns over Assange’s safety as “pro-WikiLeaks propaganda.”

    The fact that the indictment does not charge Assange with violating the Espionage Act proves he “had no legitimate fears for his life, either at the hands of CIA assassins or, via extradition, the US death penalty.”

    The Post explained that “Britain should not fear that sending him for trial on that hacking count would endanger freedom of the press” because Assange is “unethical” and not a “real journalist” because he “dumped material into the public domain without any effort independently to verify its factuality or give named individuals an opportunity to comment.”

    Who are the New York Times and the Washington Post to lecture about “real journalism”?

    These statements expose the Times and the Post as nothing but government propaganda organs.

    The Times is synonymous with peddling the Bush administration’s false claim of “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq, and the Post is owned by Jeff Bezos, the billionaire CEO of Amazon, which recently reached a $600 million service contract with the Pentagon.

    The conspiracy against Assange underscores the collapse of any constituency in the political establishment and corporate media for the defense of democratic rights.

    If Ellsberg approached the Post today with photocopies of Pentagon-commissioned Rand reports on the war, the Post would call the FBI and have him arrested for threatening “national security.”

    The Times and the Post may convince their affluent readers that Assange aided Russia by publishing evidence showing Hillary Clinton received hundreds of thousands of dollars secretly telling audiences of bankers and CEOs she would represent their interests if elected president.

    Meanwhile, the Democrats have made common cause with the leaders of the military and intelligence agencies responsible for the crimes Assange has revealed.

    The rightwing character of the Democrats’ opposition to Trump is exposed by the fact that they support his administration’s attacks on Assange.

    The defense of Julian Assange, along with Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden, is now a central political question that confronts the working class. Attitudes toward these whistleblowers break down largely upon class lines.

    As the ruling class cracks down on free speech and freedom of the press, class conflict is intensifying across the world.

    The Socialist Equality Party and the World Socialist Web Site make the broadest appeal to all those who are serious about defending democratic rights to join the fight to defend Assange, Manning and Snowden. Workers and youth internationally must mobilize immediately to defend these class war prisoners. Their lives depend on it.

    The fight for Assange’s freedom is the spearhead of the political struggle in defense of democratic rights, against imperialist militarism and capitalism. Only to the extent that the power of the working class can be harnessed can a defense of these whistleblowers be mounted.

    As Socialist Equality Party (Australia) National Committee member Nick Beams said at Friday’s emergency rally in Sydney, “the attack on democracy is a symptom of a profound disease.

    There is no defense of democracy without tackling the problem at its source, that is, the profit system of global capitalism, a system in crisis that has played out its historic role and now has to tear up, trample, defile even the democratic rights that it once stood for.

    We have to begin as part of this struggle the part for a socialist perspective. Only then can the world be cleansed of all the horrors that it is conjuring up.”
    Julian Assange’s life is in danger https://desultoryheroics.com/2019/04/16/julian-assanges-life-is-in-danger/ Posted By Luther Blissett By Eric London 4/17/19 Following Thursday’s arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in London, the governments of the US, Britain and Ecuador are engaged in a conspiracy to facilitate the whistleblower’s extraordinary rendition to the US. Julian Assange’s life and liberty is in imminent danger. It is necessary to mobilize all supporters of free speech to prevent him from falling into the hands of the American government. Over 40 years ago, a Rand Corporation analyst Daniel Ellsberg provided the Washington Post with evidence regarding the US government’s illegal activity in the Vietnam War. Yesterday, Ellsberg issued the following statement: It’s a very serious assault on the First Amendment. A clear attempt to rescind the freedom of the press…This is the first indictment of a journalist and editor or publisher, Julian Assange. And if it’s successful it will not be the last. This is clearly is a part of President Trump’s war on the press, what he calls the enemy of the state. And if he succeeds in putting Julian Assange in prison, where I think he’ll be for life, if he goes there at all, probably the first charge against him is only a few years. But that’s probably just the first of many. The official pretext being used to extradite Assange is a transparent lie. In a previously-sealed indictment made public Thursday, the US Department of Justice charged Assange only with violating a federal law against conspiring to break passwords to government computers. The fact that the crime carries only a 5-year sentence and does not fall under the Espionage Act provides all involved parties with a cover for handing Assange over to the Americans. In particular, the US-UK extradition treaty excludes transfer for “political offenses,” including espionage. Citing the Justice Department document, the British government will claim in courts that Assange’s extradition will not be prevented by this exclusion. The Ecuadoran government, moreover, claims it could revoke Assange’s asylum because the indictment shows he will not face the threat of the death penalty. In fact, once Assange is in the hands of the United States, he will quickly confront a series of additional charges, including espionage. The efforts to downplay the threat to the freedom of the press and understate the charge against Assange are aimed at sowing complacency in the population and distracting from the core free speech issues at stake. The language of the indictment itself makes clear the government is targeting Assange for political reasons, despite the official charge at its conclusion. It asserts: “The primary purpose of the conspiracy was to facilitate [Chelsea] Manning’s acquisition and transmission of classified information related to the national defense of the United States so that WikiLeaks could publicly disseminate the information on its website.” The indictment notes that the information WikiLeaks released to the public included “approximately 90,000 Afghanistan war-related significant activity reports, 400,000 Iraq war-related significant activities reports, 800 Guantanamo Bay detainee assessment briefs, and 250,000 U.S. Department of State cables. Many of these records were classified pursuant to Executive Order No. 13526,” signed by Barack Obama in 2009. The indictment claims these releases “reasonably could be expected to cause serious damage to the national security.” This language mirrors the text of the Espionage Act, which bars releasing information “relating to the national defense.” The Espionage Act criminalizes anyone who “communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered or transmitted” such information. Based on the language of the indictment, both Assange and Manning could face criminal persecution under this law. By announcing that Assange is being prosecuted based explicitly on Manning’s activity, the government is demonstrating her future is at risk as well. In fact, the first two words of the indictment are “Chelsea Manning.” This language also confirms last year’s “inadvertent” release by prosecutors of documents arguing Assange should be extradited because there are “charges”—plural—against him. Prosecutors convened a secret grand jury to investigate Assange at least as far back as 2011, and the US government sought warrants to spy on WikiLeaks employees based on allegations of “espionage” in 2012. Only the complicit or the naïve could accept that a secret grand jury spent over eight years to charge Assange with just one count of password manipulation. The response of leading political figures in the US, as well as previous statements, makes clear that the ruling elite is eager to seize Assange and lock him up for life—if not impose worse punishments. Democratic Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer tweeted, “I hope he will soon be held to account for his meddling in our elections on behalf of Putin and the Russian government.” Democratic Senator Mark Warner called Assange “a direct participant in Russian efforts to weaken the West and undermine American security. I hope British courts will quickly transfer him to U.S. custody so he can finally get the justice he deserves.” Prosecuting Assange on the basis of the unfounded allegations of “meddling” would be charges of espionage. Like a dungeon master who has been handed his latest victim, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin declared: “He is our property and we can get the facts and the truth from him.” On the basis of this statement, Assange is being transferred to the US for the purpose of interrogation—which would fall under the category of extraordinary rendition, not extradition. Assange has also faced open death threats in the press and from the government over the past several years. Rightwing radio personality Rush Limbaugh called for Assange to receive “a bullet to the brain.” Former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly told Assange: “We’re going to hang you.” Former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said, “Julian Assange is engaged in terrorism and should be treated as an enemy combatant.” Democratic Vice President Joe Biden called Assange a “high-tech terrorist.” Democratic operative Bob Beckel said, “this guy’s a traitor” and the US should “illegally shoot the son of a b***h.” Another function of the indictment is to provide the corrupt and lying media with a cover for applauding Assange’s arrest. The New York Times and Washington Post have played a particularly criminal role in downplaying the indictment by claiming the use of a lesser charge means prosecuting Assange poses no threat to free speech. In an editorial board statement yesterday, the New York Times wrote: “The government charged Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, not with publishing classified government information, but with stealing it, skirting—for now—critical First Amendment questions.” The single count against Assange, the Times wrote, means the arrest does not pose “a direct challenge to the distinction between a journalist exposing abuse of power through leaked materials—something traditional newspapers like the Times do all the time—and a foreign agent seeking to undermine the security of the United States through theft or subterfuge… The administration has begun well by charging Mr. Assange with an indisputable crime.” The Washington Post’s editorial is titled, “Julian Assange is not a free-press hero. And he is long overdue for personal accountability.” The Post wrote, “Mr. Assange’s case could conclude as a victory for the rule of law, not the defeat for civil liberties of which his defenders mistakenly warn.” The Post labeled concerns over Assange’s safety as “pro-WikiLeaks propaganda.” The fact that the indictment does not charge Assange with violating the Espionage Act proves he “had no legitimate fears for his life, either at the hands of CIA assassins or, via extradition, the US death penalty.” The Post explained that “Britain should not fear that sending him for trial on that hacking count would endanger freedom of the press” because Assange is “unethical” and not a “real journalist” because he “dumped material into the public domain without any effort independently to verify its factuality or give named individuals an opportunity to comment.” Who are the New York Times and the Washington Post to lecture about “real journalism”? These statements expose the Times and the Post as nothing but government propaganda organs. The Times is synonymous with peddling the Bush administration’s false claim of “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq, and the Post is owned by Jeff Bezos, the billionaire CEO of Amazon, which recently reached a $600 million service contract with the Pentagon. The conspiracy against Assange underscores the collapse of any constituency in the political establishment and corporate media for the defense of democratic rights. If Ellsberg approached the Post today with photocopies of Pentagon-commissioned Rand reports on the war, the Post would call the FBI and have him arrested for threatening “national security.” The Times and the Post may convince their affluent readers that Assange aided Russia by publishing evidence showing Hillary Clinton received hundreds of thousands of dollars secretly telling audiences of bankers and CEOs she would represent their interests if elected president. Meanwhile, the Democrats have made common cause with the leaders of the military and intelligence agencies responsible for the crimes Assange has revealed. The rightwing character of the Democrats’ opposition to Trump is exposed by the fact that they support his administration’s attacks on Assange. The defense of Julian Assange, along with Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden, is now a central political question that confronts the working class. Attitudes toward these whistleblowers break down largely upon class lines. As the ruling class cracks down on free speech and freedom of the press, class conflict is intensifying across the world. The Socialist Equality Party and the World Socialist Web Site make the broadest appeal to all those who are serious about defending democratic rights to join the fight to defend Assange, Manning and Snowden. Workers and youth internationally must mobilize immediately to defend these class war prisoners. Their lives depend on it. The fight for Assange’s freedom is the spearhead of the political struggle in defense of democratic rights, against imperialist militarism and capitalism. Only to the extent that the power of the working class can be harnessed can a defense of these whistleblowers be mounted. As Socialist Equality Party (Australia) National Committee member Nick Beams said at Friday’s emergency rally in Sydney, “the attack on democracy is a symptom of a profound disease. There is no defense of democracy without tackling the problem at its source, that is, the profit system of global capitalism, a system in crisis that has played out its historic role and now has to tear up, trample, defile even the democratic rights that it once stood for. We have to begin as part of this struggle the part for a socialist perspective. Only then can the world be cleansed of all the horrors that it is conjuring up.”
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  • On Tax Day, Still 'No Evidence' Trump Tax Cuts Are Trickling Down to Workers
    https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/04/15/tax-day-still-no-evidence-trump-tax-cuts-are-trickling-down-workers
    Jake Johnson, staff writer

    Wall Street banks, pharmaceutical companies, and corporate CEOs have a lot to celebrate on Tax Day thanks to President Donald Trump and the Republican Party.

    The vast majority of workers, not so much.

    According to the Economic Policy Institute, most U.S. workers have seen little to no benefit from the GOP's $1.5 trillion Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA).

    "It's Tax Day again, and there's still no reason to believe the Republicans' corporate tax cuts are doing anything for working people," Hunter Blair, a budget researcher with EPI, wrote in an analysis Monday.

    "With a year's worth of data in, the story remains the same—there's no evidence the corporate tax cuts in the TCJA have trickled down to workers."

    "The TCJA is set to exacerbate decades of rising economic inequality," said Blair.

    "The bill blew apart the individual and corporate tax codes with egregious new loopholes tailor made for the rich and big corporations."

    "And the data offers no reason to think any of this will start trickling down to typical workers," Blair added.

    Lawrence Mishel, a distinguished fellow at EPI, added in a blog post Monday that the average worker bonus in 2018 "was just $0.01 higher than in 2017."

    "This is not what the tax cutters promised, or bragged about soon after the tax bill passed," wrote Mishel.

    "They claimed that their bill would raise the wages of rank-and-file workers, with congressional Republicans and members of the Trump administration promising raises of many thousands of dollars within 10 years."

    "The White House contention that corporate tax cut-inspired widespread provision of bonuses that led to greater paychecks through bonuses or wage increases for workers is not supported by the BLS Employer Costs for Employee Compensation data," Mishel concluded.

    EPI's assessment of the tax law comes as Trump is set to embark on a week-long tour to tout his signature legislative achievement, which polls show is still extremely unpopular.

    "As Americans rush Monday to finish up their own taxes, their judgment on Trump's beloved tax cut bill is pretty clear: Most really don't like it," Politico reported Monday.

    "A Pew Research Center survey conducted last month found that 36 percent of Americans approve of the tax cut law while 49 percent disapprove. Even the number of Republicans who strongly approve of the law dipped in the latest Pew survey."

    "One reason many Americans don't feel the tax cut: The most dramatic benefit was aimed at slashing the corporate tax rate," Politico added.

    As Common Dreams reported last Thursday, the number of big companies that paid nothing in federal taxes doubled in 2018 thanks to the tax law, which slashed the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent.

    On Twitter, progressive advocacy groups used Tax Day to highlight the extent to which the Republican law has rewarded the ultra-rich and massive corporations, while leaving most workers with crumbs.

    According to a Hill-HarrisX poll released Monday, just 18 percent of Americans say they are paying less in taxes under Trump's law.

    Patriotic Millionaires—a group of rich Americans that launched a campaign last week calling for higher taxes on the wealthy—added, "If you're curious where the promised $4,000 raise from the GOP tax cut went, look no further than the bank accounts of the wealthiest Americans."

    "It wasn't a middle class tax cut," the group concluded, "it was a scam."
    On Tax Day, Still 'No Evidence' Trump Tax Cuts Are Trickling Down to Workers https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/04/15/tax-day-still-no-evidence-trump-tax-cuts-are-trickling-down-workers Jake Johnson, staff writer Wall Street banks, pharmaceutical companies, and corporate CEOs have a lot to celebrate on Tax Day thanks to President Donald Trump and the Republican Party. The vast majority of workers, not so much. According to the Economic Policy Institute, most U.S. workers have seen little to no benefit from the GOP's $1.5 trillion Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). "It's Tax Day again, and there's still no reason to believe the Republicans' corporate tax cuts are doing anything for working people," Hunter Blair, a budget researcher with EPI, wrote in an analysis Monday. "With a year's worth of data in, the story remains the same—there's no evidence the corporate tax cuts in the TCJA have trickled down to workers." "The TCJA is set to exacerbate decades of rising economic inequality," said Blair. "The bill blew apart the individual and corporate tax codes with egregious new loopholes tailor made for the rich and big corporations." "And the data offers no reason to think any of this will start trickling down to typical workers," Blair added. Lawrence Mishel, a distinguished fellow at EPI, added in a blog post Monday that the average worker bonus in 2018 "was just $0.01 higher than in 2017." "This is not what the tax cutters promised, or bragged about soon after the tax bill passed," wrote Mishel. "They claimed that their bill would raise the wages of rank-and-file workers, with congressional Republicans and members of the Trump administration promising raises of many thousands of dollars within 10 years." "The White House contention that corporate tax cut-inspired widespread provision of bonuses that led to greater paychecks through bonuses or wage increases for workers is not supported by the BLS Employer Costs for Employee Compensation data," Mishel concluded. EPI's assessment of the tax law comes as Trump is set to embark on a week-long tour to tout his signature legislative achievement, which polls show is still extremely unpopular. "As Americans rush Monday to finish up their own taxes, their judgment on Trump's beloved tax cut bill is pretty clear: Most really don't like it," Politico reported Monday. "A Pew Research Center survey conducted last month found that 36 percent of Americans approve of the tax cut law while 49 percent disapprove. Even the number of Republicans who strongly approve of the law dipped in the latest Pew survey." "One reason many Americans don't feel the tax cut: The most dramatic benefit was aimed at slashing the corporate tax rate," Politico added. As Common Dreams reported last Thursday, the number of big companies that paid nothing in federal taxes doubled in 2018 thanks to the tax law, which slashed the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. On Twitter, progressive advocacy groups used Tax Day to highlight the extent to which the Republican law has rewarded the ultra-rich and massive corporations, while leaving most workers with crumbs. According to a Hill-HarrisX poll released Monday, just 18 percent of Americans say they are paying less in taxes under Trump's law. Patriotic Millionaires—a group of rich Americans that launched a campaign last week calling for higher taxes on the wealthy—added, "If you're curious where the promised $4,000 raise from the GOP tax cut went, look no further than the bank accounts of the wealthiest Americans." "It wasn't a middle class tax cut," the group concluded, "it was a scam."
    On Tax Day, Still 'No Evidence' Trump Tax Cuts Are Trickling Down to Workers
    "If you're curious where the promised $4,000 raise from the GOP tax cut went, look no further than the bank accounts of the wealthiest Americans."
    WWW.COMMONDREAMS.ORG
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  • US companies
    Corporations are in business to make money. Anything they do is to serve that purpose. Corporate strategy is to maximize profits this quarter without regard for next year. Executives at corporations are under pressure to not just make a profit but to increase profit. This pressure comes from large stockholders. A decrease in stock price is a death sentence for a CEO. Corporations that are...
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