By Henry McRandall
What does it say about the “leadership” of United States President Barack “Oreo” Obama that yesterday he was unable to get even his own Democratic senators to vote for a Bill aimed simply at preventing violent convicted felons and the severely mentally ill from obtaining assault rifles, etc. – a Bill that enjoys the support of 90% of Americans? And what does it say about the state of U.S. “democracy” that a single corporate lobby – the NRA (National Rifle Association) – was able to cow the U.S. Congress into defeating a Bill supported by 90% of Americans?
If the NRA has Washington by the balls, so do many other sinister lobbies that couldn’t care less about the public interest or the public’s welfare – such as the oil & gas lobby; the mining lobby; Monsanto & Dow Chemical; Wall Street; AIPAC (the America-Israeli Political Action Committee); right-wing so-called “Christian” front groups; the criminally corrupt mega-billionaire Koch(sucker) brothers; etc.
It used to be that the Top1% – the billionaires and the mega-millionaires – needed a robust, well-disciplined and thoroughly-brainwashed middle class to serve as a buffer between them and the many millions of poor and working-class Americans they were screwing over. Today, that middle class may no longer be robust, but it is, by and large, still well-disciplined and thoroughly-brainwashed. But the Top1% no longer needs them at all. The sordid overhauling that the political system and the economic system have undergone over the past 32+ years have made the middle class just as expendable to their masters in the socioeconomic elite as the poor and the working class have long been. Now, all the Top1% needs are the 2ndTop1% (the overpaid “managers” and other overpaid flunkies who serve as administrators and, if necessary, ready scapegoats for the criminal impunity of the ultimate masters) and the whole gaggle of puppet political prostitutes they’ve already bought and paid for.
The so-called Founding Fathers never intended for Amerikkka to be a democracy. What they wanted was a republic that would always and only be governed by rich, white males. (Read the un-amended Constitution.) It took almost 200 years, generations of unrelenting struggle and massive government-inflicted bloodshed against other Americans who wanted democracy – workers, women, the poor, African-Americans, Hispanics and many others – before Amerikkka finally became a “near-democracy” circa 1968. And no sooner did Amerikkka finally become a “near-democracy” than the felonious billionaires and mega-millionaires began putting their puppet political prostitutes; their mainstream media; and, most recently, their corrupt, right-wing U.S. Supreme Court whores to work dismantling that infant “near-democracy”. They were positively aghast at the notion that anybody but them should ever have any real say in the running of the country. And they were certainly not prepared to tolerate it for very long. read more »
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By Henry McRandall
By Henry McRandall
Canada’s federal NDP (its nominally social-democratic New Democratic Party, which is currently the Official Opposition in the House of Commons) today began a three-day policy convention in Montreal whose outcome could be either an extremely hopeful development or an enormous disaster for millions of poor and working-class Canadians.
Current NDP leader Thomas Mulcair (a former provincial Liberal cabinet minister in Quebec) – who inherited the leadership almost by default after the sudden and tragic death of heroic former leader Jack Layton shortly after the 2011 general election – is trying to shift the party toward the right (he calls it the “centre”) in the vain hope that by abandoning policies and principles in favor of naked opportunism, he can become the next prime minister of Canada.
As part of this effort, Mulcair wants delegates to approve overhauling the party’s official preamble, changing it from “a socialist party” to something like “a progressive party working within a free-market economy.” Adopting this change and other “centrist” proposals Mulcair is championing would be an unforgiveable betrayal of the tens of thousands of poor and working-class Canadians who built the party and would leave all Canadians with no party willing to put the legitimate and urgent needs of the Other99% ahead of the illegitimate and insatiable greed of the criminally corrupt Top1%.
What Canada needs – now more than ever – is not another “centrist” political party just as beholden to the savage corporate capitalist agenda as the extreme right-wing Conservatives of RWNJ Stephen Harper but a genuinely socialist political party that would be willing to challenge the unelected Establishment and drastically overhaul the status quo. And what the NDP needs – now more than ever – is to be that political force.
Although the NDP has never been able to win a federal or provincial election in Canada on a purely socialist platform, it has certainly not been because Canadians are unwilling to embrace genuinely socialist solutions to the country’s challenges. Polls conducted over many recent years on particular issues rather than on party preferences have generally shown strong public support for either leftist or leftish policies and principles. Why haven’t the demonstrably leftish inclinations of Canadians on a wide range of issues translated into NDP victories based on leftist platforms? For several reasons:
Firstly, the NDP has rarely been able to match the campaign spending of the Establishment parties – the Conservatives and Liberals – who receive massive funding from the Top2% and the banks and corporations they control -, funding which could never possibly be matched just by labour unions, and because those two parties that have most often governed Canada, its nine provinces and the province/nation of Quebec have always been willing to give government (taxpayer) money and plum political appointments to the Top1% and their banks and corporations in return for their financial support.
Secondly, the NDP has almost never received a significant amount of support from the corporate mainstream media cartel and never sought to establish an alternative mass-media edifice to combat the elitist, pro-Establishment, pro-status quo preferences of the mainstream media.
And thirdly, the NDP has never made a credible effort to educate Canadians about socialism or to aggressively promote a genuinely socialist alternative to the sordid corporate capitalist agenda.
A genuinely socialist agenda wouldn’t appeal to everyone. And not every element of that agenda would appeal to everyone inclined to be supportive of most items in that agenda. But most of the elements of such an agenda would appeal to – and be beneficial to – the vast majority of Canadians. What might some of those elements and policies be? read more »
By Henry McRandall
Whatever happened to the time-honored cliche about “an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay” – especially in North America? It seems that while workers in the U.S. and Canada are working harder than ever and while worker productivity in both countries has soared over the past 30 years, very few employers are still willing to provide “an honest day’s pay” to their struggling rank-and-file employees.
Workers are the people who, in reality, create all wealth – through the blood, sweat and tears that that they “invest” in the creation of that wealth. But it is the other “investors” – the Top1% – the billionaires and mega-millionaires – the gangster banksters and the corrupt captains of criminal capitalist corporations who are stealing almost all of the wealth that is being created.
Right-wing nut jobs would, of course, object – arguing that financial “investors” are “risk-takers” and that they “deserve” to make a profit in return for the “risks” they take. The RWNJs would also argue that these financial “investors” are “job creators” and that they “deserve” to be rewarded for “creating jobs.”
Before addressing these and some of the other myths, deceptions and outright lies that corporate capitalists have promoted about themselves, let’s consider the State Of The Workplace today – the place where labor “investors” (workers) and financial “investors” (the ownership class) meet to exchange inputs and divvy up rewards.
Business profits in both the U.S. and Canada are now at all-time record highs – and have climbed steadily throughout the six years since unregulated banks and corporations crashed the global economy in 2008 as a result of their massive mortgage and derivatives frauds and a variety of other felonies – for which no one has ever been prosecuted or even charged. Executive compensation – including routine annual “bonuses” in the millions of dollars per executive per year – have soared dramatically since 1981, to the point where a CEO earning thousands of times as much as his – or her – average employee, is no longer a rarity. Taxes for corporations and the wealthy have almost totally disappeared since 1981 when that lunatic Ronald Reagan cursed America and the world with the introduction of Reaganomics – supply-side economics – trickle-down economics – voodoo economics. The corporations and the Top1% have amassed such enormous, undeserved windfalls over the past three decades that they now typically have so much cash they literally don’t know what to do with it.
On the other side of the ledger, 2.5 million Canadians and 25 million Americans are now either totally unemployed or so woefully underemployed that they can barely survive. Despite the massive increase in worker productivity and the massive amount of new wealth they have created over the past 30 years, they have received no benefit whatsoever from their increased productivity or from the massive new wealth they have created. Every penny of benefit has gone exclusively to the Top1%. Millions of North Americans are working full-time but being paid nowhere near a living wage. Company pension plans are disappearing rapidly, as are all other employee benefits. Families that once could survive on a single income can now barely scrape by on two incomes. read more »
By Henry McRandall
Ever wonder why it was that during the 2012 U.S. election, GOP Teabagger presidential candidate Mitt Romney recorded robocalls for congressional candidates across the country and acknowledged local candidates at every stop, while Democratic President Barack Obama recorded a robocall only for a single candidate and refused to introduce local party candidates at any campaign stop?
It was because if the Democrats had won the White House, a majority in the House of Representatives and a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, the whole sham of U.S. “democracy” would have been exposed and the entire corporate capitalist edifice built upon it would have been at risk of total collapse.
Simply put, the capture of the whole electoral system by the Top1% and the criminally corrupt banks and corporations they control would be gravely imperilled if not for the congressional “gridlock” that saves all their sorry asses.
If there were no congressional gridlock and the Democrats had total control of Washington, they would be forced to live up to their rhetoric and campaign promises and pass legislation that would serve the best interests and legitimate needs of the Other99% rather than the vested interests and insatiable greed of the Top1%. As a consequence of abandoning the sordid and destructive corporate agenda, the Democrats would lose 90 percent of their financing and face total collapse at the next election. And the Democrats winning total control of Washington and failing to abandon the savage corporate agenda would strip naked the entire facade of a two-party “democracy.” It would prove, once and for all, that regardless of which party they vote for, Americans are going to get a perpetuation of the cruel and corrupt corporate agenda that is bankrupting the U.S. and world economies. read more »
By Henry McRandall
There is a United States tourism ad currently playing on Canadian TV in which some unknown woman sings about Amerikkka being a “land of dreams,” and urging Canadians to come and, presumably, share those dreams. The ad was so laughable that it got me thinking, in general, about overwhelming Amerikkkan jingoism and, in particular, about such monumental fictions as “the American Dream” and the mind-numbing lyrics in the Amerikkkan national anthem about Amerikkka being “the home of the brave and the land of the free.”
Can any thinking American – let alone anyone else in the world – actually believe this delusional claptrap?
Before I examine in greater detail the entire fiction and the attendant brainwashing about U.S. “democracy,” please bear with me for a moment while I explain the belly-laugh the thought of Amerikkka being the “home of the brave” evokes.
Throughout its entire 237-year history, there has almost never been a time when the United States of America has not been at war with someone – typically someone unable to compete with the most powerful – technologically speaking – military empire in history. Yes, Amerikkka’s very “brave” about invading poor, tiny countries with little or no ability to fight back, imposing brutal right-wing dictatorships on those countries and sticking around to rape, loot and pillage the survivors long after the Amerikkkan onslaught and the rampant Amerikkkan war crimes and crimes against humanity have ceased.
The “raping, looting and pillaging,” of course, actually involves a much wider variety of crimes against the defenceless people it has just “conquered” in its never-ending quest to impose Amerikkkan-style so-called “democracy” on the rest of the world and steal whatever wealth that vanquished country might possess – by forcing it to supply cheap labor, cheap resources, a complete absence of environmental or worker health-and-safety protections, immunity from criminal or civil prosecution, and a captive market for Amerikkkan multinational corporations. This is “brave”? read more »
By Henry McRandall
As thousands of Catholic from around the world gather in Rome for tomorrow’s last public service by departing Pope Benedict XVI, it is timely for all Christians – and all other persons of faith – to give some thought to how not only the Roman Catholic Church but all organized religions have declined over the centuries to what today can only be considered dens of iniquity.
Although the focus of this article will, of necessity, be primarily the Catholic Church, much of what will be addressed applies equally to just about every organized religion – not just other “Christian” religions but also every major organized religion in the world – including also the Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness and Bahai faiths.
The Catholic church today is greatly reviled not only by most non-Catholics but also by many, many people who were raised as Catholics but have abandoned the religion either because they were victims of physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse by Catholic clergy or because of other glaring inconsistencies between New Testament reality and modern-day church practices.
The Vatican’s biggest problem today, of course, is the never-ending procession of victims coming forward to report often violent sexual assaults – rapes, if you like – by Catholic priests who stole their innocence when they were defenceless children.
Most of these child rapes are, of course, an essential byproduct of the Vatican’s rigid demand that priests and other church functionaries – such as nuns – take a “vow of celibacy” before they can begin their formal “service” to Jesus Christ within the church.
Celibacy, of course, was never mandated by Jesus Christ and was not even promoted by the four New Testament “gospels” – those according to the Apostles Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It was only more than one thousand years after the death of Jesus Christ that the Catholic church – the only Christian religion at the time – passed its ecclesiastical laws requiring on celibacy.
The reason? In the early centuries of Christianity, believers actually did “tithe” – giving a full ten percent of all their income to the church. Most “tithers,” of course, were men since in the primitive, rural-based economies of the time, very few women had any involvement in the formal economy – essentially performing massive amounts of labour on the family farm but receiving no financial compensation for it – and had no real income. And because virtually all men “tithed,” in any village that had even as few as just 11 men, the Catholic priest was automatically the richest man in the village. And since very few villages – or “parishes” – had just 11 men, priests tended to become visibly wealthy as their villages grew.
By early in the second millennium after Jesus Christ, various popes were becoming quite resentful that so many priests were dying and leaving their considerable economic assets to their widows and children, rather than to “Holy Mother the Church.” These popes had already forgotten that Jesus Christ was what we today would call a “socialist” who totally detested what we today would call “capitalism.”
These popes had apparently forgotten that Jesus Christ’s very first public action was to violently evict the capitalists from the Jewish temple that he attended. They had forgotten that you “cannot serve both God and Mammon (financial profit)”. They had forgotten that it was “harder for a rich man to get into heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle.” And they had forgotten that Jesus Christ had urged moral humans to “give up your riches and come follow me.” read more »
By Henry McRandall
Just four months after being charged with fraud, breach of trust and uttering forged documents in connection with his illegally paying for his son’s $25,000 wedding with federal government funds, London, Ontario Mayor Joe Fontana is again caught up in a web of controversy and criminality.
Today, Revenue Canada revealed that it is stripping Fontana’s private so-called charity, Trinity Global Support Foundation, of its legal, tax-exempt status as a charity. Last year, Trinity issued more than $150 million in tax-deductible donation receipts and now appears unable to prove where any of that money went.
Trinity claims it ships HIV medications and medical equipment to various unnamed African countries and also donates money to other registered charities. Asked by a London Free Press reporter to cite a single example of the other charities his charity donates to, Mayor Fontana, who is the chairman and sole director of Trinity, asserted that it donated $900,000 to a small London, Ontario social agency called Western Area Youth Services (WAYS). Asked about the donation, the head of WAYS replied “I would kill for a $900,000 donation” and added that her agency had never received a single penny from Fontana’s “charity.”
Trinity’s headquarters is a one-room office on the second floor of a tiny, decrepit, two-storey building on the fringes of downtown. It’s only two employees – Executive Director Joe Fontana Jr. and his brother, Ugo, – are both paid separate full-time salaries, although it appears “Joe Jr.” and “Ugo” might actually be one and the same person fraudulently collecting two full-time salaries.
When a TV reporter from CTV-London attempted to question “Joe Jr.” or “Ugo” or whatever he/they is/are currently calling himself/themselves at Trinity’s office, the person answering the door refused to let the TV crew enter, stating only that “my board of directors has not authorized me to talk to you” (Translation: “My daddy told me to keep my mouth shut.”).
This evening, neither “Joe Jr.” nor “Ugo” was/were returning calls from the media.
Although “Joe Jr.” and “Ugo” are/is the only salaried employee(s) of Trinity – each/both claiming to earn less than $80,000 a year — the “charity” claimed more than $12 million in “administrative” expenses last year, not including fund-raising expenses.
Long before being elected mayor of London, Ontario, in 2010, Joe Fontana Sr. was labour minister in Canada’s last Liberal federal government, an assignment he apparently used to cement his ties with Canada’s reputedly Mafia-controlled construction unions. read more »
By Henry McRandall
By all accounts, Aaron Swartz — Reddit co-founder, RSS pioneer, Internet genius, heroic champion of freedom and social justice, and, ultimately, martyr — was a gentle and generous soul. Motivated not by personal gain and empowerment — as is almost every other member of the Top2% — but by a visceral and intellectual desire to make Amerikkka — and the world — a better place for all, Swartz risked his health, his fortune, his freedom and, ultimately, his life so that in at least some small measure the world would be a better place when he left than it was when he arrived.
He sought no reward for his selflessness and his sacrifices. Nor, however, did he seek the horrific consequences that ultimately befell him. And what were those consequences? He was assassinated at the tender, young age of 26 by his own government — the government of the United States of America — the most powerful and destructive government in the world — the government that, more than any other, equates homicidal corporate capitalism with democracy.
Yes, democracy! It is to laugh. The United States of America and its most reliable partner in crime — the United Kingdom — playfully dispute which is the real “mother” or “father” of “democracy.” The simple truth is that, whatever either may have been at any particular time in the past, it would be ludicrous to suggest that either is a democracy today.
In all honesty, it is only possible to consider a single eight-year period — from 1960 to 1968 — in the 237-year history of the U.S. when America was a democracy. For the other 229 years, Amerikkka has always been a fascist, corporate capitalist plutocracy and oligopoly. Nor did the mysteriously worshipped “Founding Fathers” ever intend for Amerikkka to be a democracy.
The “democracy” foist upon Americans by early Amerikkkans — the so-called Founding Fathers, etc. — was a “democracy” in which the only people who could get elected to public office — or even vote — were wealthy white men. Every other group that won “the right to vote” over the next 200 years — women, minorities, the middle class, the working class, the poor, etc. — only ever got “the right to vote” because they fought like hell for that right. That “right” has now been transformed into a cruel hoax. read more »
By Henry McRandall
The ongoing struggles of the fledgling “Idle No More” movement of Canadian aboriginals grew even more challenging today after an arranged “leak” of top-secret documents by the Conservative federal government of dangerously deranged Prime Minister Stephen Harper spawned a massive corporate media assault on leaders of the movement. Even state-owned CBC-TV news, whose managing editor and principal anchor Peter Mansbridge is a closet right-winger who even attended the 2011 convention of the secretive and Satanic Bilderberg group in 2011, felt compelled to chime in — on the side of the established White order, of course.
The Idle No More movement sprung up quietly last September after the Harper regime introduced an extremely destructive omnibus Bill in the Canadian Parliament intended to undermine and water down many existing pieces of legislation that have thus far served the public interest and the public good very well. Among the changes Harper has tried to ram through Parliament through this omnibus Bill is a very significant reduction in environmental protections in order to serve the interests of mostly foreign oil billionaires and mega-millionaires exploiting Alberta’s Tar Sands monstrosity.
The savage reduction in protections for air, water and soil quality in vast regions of Canada that would follow passage of this omnibus Bill would have severely impacted the ancestral and treaty-guaranteed hunting and fishing rights of aboriginals. In addition to the public health impact of the reduction in environmental protections, it would also have a very negative effect on the already-very-low standard of living of most aboriginal Canadians.
But while most poor, working-class and even middle-class Canadians would also suffer severe negative consequences from the passage of this omnibus Bill, so far only aboriginal Canadians have managed to find the courage to rise up against it. Like their Amerikkkan brothers and sisters, most non-aboriginal Canadians are too sedated by prescription anti-depressants and other pharmaceutical plagues and too obsessed with their digital gadgetry to stand up on their hind legs. The aboriginals — or First Nations, as Canada’s real natives prefer to call themselves –, however, were no longer content to simply turn the other cheek and have the Top1% and their puppet political prostitutes slap it too. Hence, the emergence of Idle No More. read more »
By Henry McRandall
As United States President Oreo Obama and the Republican-Teabagger-dominated House of Representatives prepare to wage a mock duel over the alleged “fiscal stiff” staring America in the face, it is important to understand the unprosecuted and treasonous criminality of the Top One Percent and their puppet political prostitutes that brought the country — and the world — to the precipice and how bringing their heinous scam — the biggest swindle in the history of corporate capitalism — to a screeching halt could save America and the world.
The only legitimate solution to the ongoing U.S. and worldwide — almost — financial chaos is a solution that does not require any cuts at all to government spending — other than the Pentagon and the generous public welfare handed out each year to the parasitic upper class (the Top Two Percent). In fact, it would generate massive new public revenue that could easily finance massive spending increases on health; education; social programs; infrastructure upgrading; public housing; public transit; the research, development & manufacture of green technology, etc. — and the creation of many millions of high-quality, high-wage jobs.
Let’s first look at how the U.S. — and the world — got there.
When imbecile Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1980, the marginal tax rate — the rate on just all income above the equivalent of $1 million in today’s dollars — was 91%. That, of course, doesn’t mean that your average millionaire is paying 91% taxes on all of his income — just on that portion of it above $1 million a year. The guy making $2 million a year would still take home — after taxes — close to $900,000 a year. Not too shabby! Your average Amerikkkan corporate CEO — with a salary of $10 million a year — would still take home — after taxes — more than $1,650,000 a year.
The six sinfully wealthy heirs of Walmart founder Sam Walton — by far the wealthiest family in the world — would — if they shut down Walmart and just invested their wealth — acquired by massive crimes against humanity — at 2% — have to make do with just $235 million a year amongst them, to “get by.”
Meanwhile, more than 80% of Walmart’s “full-time” U.S. employees are on Medicaid and Food Stamps, and more than 50% live in their cars because they can’t afford both a car and an apartment. Americans think they’re getting lower prices because they shop at Walmart. It costs Americans almost $2.7 billion a year to keep these horrificly exploited Walmart workers alive — or an average of $420,000 a year for every Walmart store in Amerikkka.
The degenerate Walmart heirs spend millions of dollars every year — tax-deductible dollars — financing hate groups whose sole disgusting contribution to society is to keep the Other 99 Percent divided against each other — based on such stupid, pointless considerations as race, colour, creed, gender, age, sexual orientation, etc. — rather than uniting as one to confront the common enemy — the sordid Walton heirs and their entire ilk of criminally corrupt millionaires, mega-millionaires, billionaires and mega-billionaires.
Of course the scumbags of the socioeconomic and political elite don’t pay a marginal tax rate of 91% on their income above $1 million a year these days. But let’s imagine that they did. And let’s be even more generous with them. Instead of taxing them on household income above $1 million, let’s just tax them at 91% on their income in excess of $1 million a year for every person in household. Last year, that would have generated an extra $2.9 trillion for Uncle Sam. That would not only have erased the entire U.S. government deficit of $1.089 trillion, it would have created a surplus of $1.811 trillion.
While most Americans have suffered — increasingly — in recent years, the Top Two Percent — and especially the Top One Percent — the Amerikkkans — have done astoundingly well. They, of course, suffered the least at the height of this never-ending recession — whether they choose to call it that or not. And not only have they fully recovered, they have zoomed much further ahead of everyone else. The Top One Percent are now claiming a larger share of the total national economic pie than at any time in U.S. history — more than 22%. Their corporations’ profits are also claiming a larger share of the total national economic pie than at any time in U.S. history. They are at record levels not only in absolute dollar terms but also in percentage terms. read more »