Thursday, August 30, 2012

Meet the Real Barack Obama! (What I learned at the RNC)

When accused of blatantly false campaign ads, Mitt Romney’s pollster Neil Newhouse said, "We will not let the fact checkers get in the way”.

I've learned an awful lot about Obama after listening to all the Republican speeches during their convention this week. I was shocked and awed to learn that Obama, who -- as just a "community organizer", and who "doesn't understand how America works", and who "had no business experience", and who is a foreigner-- he sure has done a lot of harm to this country in just a short 3 years by signing a record-low number of bills coming out of Congress since becoming President.

Besides learning about legitimate rape this week, I've also learned from the Republican speeches that:

  • Obama is to blame for losing America's "exceptionalism".
  • Obama is to blame for 25 million under-employed and unemployed people.
  • Obama is to blame for leading from behind.
  • Obama is to blame for creating millions of low-paying jobs.
  • Obama is to blame for home millions of foreclosures.
  • Obama is to blame for 46 million Americans on food stamps.
  • Obama is to blame for being weak on defense.
  • Obama is to blame for our national debt.
  • Obama is to blame for high taxes.
  • Obama is to blame for "big" government.
  • Obama is to blame for 11 million illegal immigrants.
  • Obama is to blame for a failing education system.
  • Obama is to blame for too much government spending.
  • Obama is to blame for punishing success and job creators.
  • Obama is to blame for class-warfare.
  • Obama is to blame for the high cost of living.
  • Obama is too blame for high gas prices.
  • Obama is to blame for dividing the country.
  • Obama is to blame for over-regulating BP oil
  • Obama is to blame for violating the U.S. Constitution.
  • Obama is to blame for a war on religion (with contraception).
  • Obama is to blame for infanticide (with abortion).
  • Obama is to blame for a declining middle-class.
  • Obama is to blame for putting people on welfare.
  • Obama is to blame for the high cost of healthcare.
  • Obama is to blame for destroying Medicare.
  • Obama is to blame for taking our guns away.
  • Obama is to blame for losing our global respect.
  • Obama is to blame for Iran's nuclear ambitions.
  • Obama is to blame for the downgrade in our credit rating.
  • Obama is to blame for Syria's, Egypt's, and Libya's civil wars.
  • Obama is to blame for NOT helping to create an Iranian civil war.
  • Obama is to blame for burdening our children and grand-children in debt.
  • Obama is to blame for making us a "European" and "Socialist" nation.
  • Obama is to blame for teacher's pensions.
  • Obama is to blame for 52,000 factory closings since 2001.
  • Obama is to blame for record poverty.
  • Obama is to blame for high college tuitions.
  • Obama is to blame for borrowed, wasted, and spent stimulus.
  • Obama is to blame for killing small businesses.
  • Obama is to blame for making us dependent on big government.
  • Obama is to blame for crony capitalism, which we never had before.
  • Obama is to blame for not fixing roads and bridges.
  • Obama is to blame for "you didn't build that!"
  • Obama is to blame for giving billions of dollars to oil companies.
  • Obama is to blame for falsely blaming the Republicans for all this country's woes.

Shame on this man! He should be tried and hung for treason!!!!

The Republicans have been very gracious in saying that Obama inherited a bad situation from the previous Republican administration; but then they blamed Obama for making a bad situation much worse...or for not fixing everything that was wrong since he first took office 3 years ago. Or, if something DID go right, the Republicans said the situation had only improved "despite" of Obama and his failed policies (policies that were always filibustered by the House Republicans).

I've also learned that Obama was to blame for the hurricane that struck New Orleans, exactly 7 years to the day from the last time a hurricane hit New Orleans when George W. Bush was sight-seeing in a Marine helicopter.

I was so shocked to learn that Obama was soooooooo evil, and that this one man could cause so much carnage and destruction to such a strong and great nation like the United States of America. Boy, was that un-nerving!

Before I had heard all those Republican speeches this week, all I knew about Obama before that was:

  • Obama was not American (born in Kenya).
  • Obama had a counterfeit birth certificate (Donald Trump told me so.)
  • Obama was a Marxist and hung out with terrorists (Because Sean Hannity said so.)
  • Obama didn't believe in the "real" God, so he was anti-religion and the anti-Christ.
  • Obama was a Manchurian Candidate who was out to destroy America.
  • Obama wanted to spread the billionaire's wealth around.
  • Obama was half black, not half white.
  • And that Obama was a Muslim.

But after listening to all the Republican speeches this week, I was also very reassured to know that, because Mitt Romney was a good family man and had a loving wife and five well-groomed sons, he would be fit to lead the nation during these desperate times...and that Mitt could fix everything that Obama had single-handedly destroyed (or made much worse), and that Mitt could "save America".

I did notice one thing though. Besides Obama being to blame for everything that's wrong with America, not one single detail was ever revealed about how the Republicans would fix everything that is so very wrong with this country...except for the fact that all the Republicans agreed that we should cut spending on the poor and lower taxes on the rich. That much was very clear.

And then I realized that I am also very blessed to have a brain just slightly larger than a peanut, because if I didn't, I might have actually believed everything the Republicans were saying in their speeches at their convention this week (and I wouldn't have noticed all their "token" minorities either).

But what makes me very sad and very ashamed was, after looking at all those goofy faces in the convention's audience, I was appalled and overcome by a feeling of melancholy when I realized just how stupid Americans really are.

But fear not folks, American "exceptionalism" is still alive in America. Exceptional stupidity. Personally, I would prefer a draft-dodger and a tax dodger over an evil community organizer to lead this nation.

From the Seattle Times: Meet the Real Mitt Romney

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Party of Hate, Bigotry, Selfishness, Ignorance, and Greed

But it wasn't always so. Have you guessed which party?

Thomas Jefferson founded what is now the Republican Party. A very interesting debate once took place between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson had argued that corporations and manufacturing would result in the concentration of too much property and power in the hands of banks and the wealthy elites.

That sounds very much like what President Obama might say today. But the Tea Party calls him a Socialist.

I once wrote about Woodrow Wilson's and Theodore Roosevelt's "Hamiltonian" and "Jeffersonian" philosophies, because these ideas had morphed into opposing political views today.

In 1912 Theodore Roosevelt, leader of the Republican Party and founder of the short-lived Progressive Party (and subscribing to the Hamiltonian philosophy) had called for a broad range of positive social welfare programs. He was the one and only (and perhaps the last) Republican president that's ever endorsed a federal government healthcare plan.

Now we have "ObamaCare", but Mitt Romney and the Republicans want to repeal it. They and the Tea Party call it "European" and "Socialist."

Ideologies have changed over the course of history and time. Neither Ronald Reagan, Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln nor Thomas Jefferson could run as a Republican today.

Now we have a flip-flopping opportunist like Mitt Romney running for President, representing the New Republican Party of hate, bigotry, selfishness, ignorance, and greed. And they are not promoting the "kinder and gentler nation" that President George H.W. Bush had once envisioned.

Disregarding Richard Nixon and the Watergate scandal, the administration of George W. Bush may have marked that moment in time when the New Republican Party was ushered in, and after Glenn Beck and the Koch brothers stoked the new "Tea Party" in 2009...which is more like the party of the old Dixicrats in 1948.

The Republican Party Today

If taxes are already historically low, and we already have too much government debt, and the rich are paying a lower tax rate than the middle-class, would you vote for a very wealthy man to be president if he's also a man who doesn't want to pay any taxes at all, but at the same time, cut Social Security and Medicare for you and your parents?

Mitt Romney and the Republicans said that the American people are more concerned about jobs and the economy than they are about seeing Mitt's tax returns...he said it was "simple minded". But his tax returns are directly connected to the debate about the economy, debt, spending, and jobs.

Romney and the Republicans are saying how concerned they are about the national debt, about "the crushing burden that our children and grandchildren will have to bear." But as the leader of our country, and considering the great debate about tax policy, Romney's tax returns are very much at the center of the discussion.

If Mitt Romney only paid 13.9% in federal income taxes on $22 million in income he earned in one year, and we are discussing the viability and solvency of Social Security, Medicare, and defense spending, it would seem that whatever reforms we need in the tax code would be better understood if the American people knew what loopholes should be eliminated.

I find it disingenuous, gluttonous, and hypocritical for someone such as Romney to complain about government spending, as though people like he were paying the lion's share in taxes.

It's almost evil for the wealthy to accuse others of not "having enough skin in the game" when it comes to the poor paying their fair share of taxes, because the poor don't have expensive lobbyists going to Congress on their behalf to influence the tax laws.

As a percent of their total annual income, the poor and middle-class pay much more in taxes and living expenses than someone with Mitt Romney's money. And the poor and middle-class can't afford to hire tax attorneys or take advantage of the same loopholes in the tax code as Mitt Romney does.

Romney's tax returns are very much at the heart of the problem on tax reform because most of Romney's income is derived from "capital gains", and both he and his running mate, Paul Ryan, wants to eliminate the capital gains tax entirely. Mitt Romney doesn't want to put ANY skin in the game.

Every year, almost $1 trillion dollars in personal income (that the top 1% earns with capital gains) is not taxed at all for Social Security and Medicare; and it is also taxed at a lower rate (15%) than a middle-class wage earner pays for income taxes (25%).

So essentially, the super-rich Mitt Romney, after already paying less as a percentage of his income in taxes than most other people, he now wants to pay no taxes at all. And then, even when he personally isn't contributing to the government treasury, he wants to dictate to others the cuts in government spending for everyone else who IS paying into the system (and not gaming it the way the top 1% has been doing for decades).

Mitt and his wife are lying when they say they won't release any more tax return because the Democrats will only "attack" them. Why would Mitt, a leader in the Mormon church, sell his soul to lead the Party of hate, bigotry, selfishness, ignorance, and greed to be President of the United States? Because his first loyalty is to his church, not to this country. And less tax revenues for the government would equate to more revenues into the coffers of his church, and may the "gentiles" be damned.

And then there's the matter of jobs.

During Mitt Romney’s time as owner and CEO of Bain Capital, he cleverly invested in, and made enormous profits from, companies that The Washington Post describes as “pioneers in the practice of shipping work from the United States to overseas call centers and factories making computer components.”

Where pioneers have gone, settlers have followed. Today, outsourcing by the country’s largest multinational corporations has become routine. The result is a process of strategic investment that often yields high profits without generating jobs or tax revenues in the United States.

Many American companies (e.g. Apple, etc.) rely heavily on subcontractors in other countries, minimizing both their production costs (cheap labor) and their tax liabilities. They can also pollute the water and air in places like China.

Pew Research says that since the beginning of George W. Bush's administration, the middle class has shrunk in size, and has fallen backward in both income and wealth. During that time 52,000 factories fled our shores, costing the U.S. over 8 million jobs during that time.

Mitt Romney, in his stump speeches on the campaign trail, has blamed President Obama for all our low-paying jobs, even though it was his time at Bain Capital that was all about down-sizing and outsourcing jobs. (Does the pot call the kettle black?)

One of Mitt Romney's most boasted accomplishments was Staples, which is nothing but a mass of low-paying jobs. Just like Domino's Pizza. And slave labor wages are also paid at Wal-Mart and McDonalds, two of America's largest employers.

Now 50% of all Americans earn LESS than $26,363.55 a year, just above the poverty line for a family of four. These are the people that Mitt Romney says should pay more, while he eliminates his own tax liability completely -- by not taxing capital gains.

Over the years, wealthy taxpayers have found countless ways to game the system, and every time the Internal Revenue Service has moved to plug a loophole, the code has become more and more complicated.

And it doesn't help that Congress (mostly Republicans) have de-funded the IRS so much that they can't hire more tax auditors to investigate massive tax evasion.

Mitt Romney also uses foreign tax credits to game the system. Maybe Mitt Romney should renounce American citizenship and move to Singapore, as did the Facebook co-founder Eduardo Savarin) rather than run for President of the United States. That would end Mitt's obligation as a citizen to pay federal income tax.

It was estimated that the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 cost the U.S. Treasury $1.5 trillion in lost revenues. Now corporate America is sitting on a colossal $2.5 trillion in un-taxed cash in foreign banks from profits made overseas.

The CEOs are earning record multi-million-dollar salaries with stocks and stock-options and paying a very low 15% capital gains tax rate (and no Social Security or Medicare taxes at all on those capital gains. About another $1 trillion a year is lost in tax revenues here as well.).

Over a quarter century ago, in 1984, the Washington, D.C.- based Citizens for Tax Justice released its first in-depth report on how much America’s top profitable corporations were actually paying in taxes. America’s top companies, this initial study found, were paying only 14.1% of their profits in taxes, less than a third of the corporate tax rate then in effect.

Their last study shows that America’s top corporations are now getting what essentially amounts to a 50% discount off their tax bills.

The STATUTORY corporate tax rate is currently 35%, but for many companies, the EFFECTIVE tax rate is half of that. So, if the tax rate was 90%, what would it matter if the loopholes allowed them to pay a mere 18%? But still, Mitt Romney and the Republicans are asking for lower corporate taxes too.

Am I the only one who gets suspicious when everything a person proposes is something that they themselves would always personally benefit the most from? If for no other reason, this should be why no one should vote for Mitt Romney. Where is HIS "shared sacrifice" for the country?

Capital gains and corporate taxes are already historically low, but the Republicans keep saying "now is not a good time to raise taxes." So then, let me ask, when is it EVER a good time to raise taxes? Would it have been back in 2001 when Bush lowered them?

The New York Times writes that "both political parties say they agree on the absolute necessity of reforming the addled and inefficient American tax code. But that would mean eliminating much of the underbrush of credits, loopholes and expenditures (such as Romney's foreign tax credits), and then maybe reducing marginal tax rates.

Of course, the devil is in the details...and Mitt Romney always provides so few. Just about every tax expenditure has a powerful interest group behind it. That is part of the reason why neither party has gotten specific about what they would put on the chopping block, and both anticipate a drawn-out fight during the tax reform process.

And of course it's usually always the middle-class and poor making all the "shared sacrifices".

And one can't help but help wonder if Congress has personal reasons for not acting sooner on reforming the tax code for the past 90 years (when capital gains was first introduced). Almost half the House and two thirds of the Senate are millionaires themselves. The fox guarding the hen house?

And then of course, there are the banks. They control our economy and Congress (big business and our government). In 1802 Thomas Jefferson wrote, "I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property - until their children wake up homeless in the continent their fathers conquered."

Maybe Thomas Jefferson was also a prophet. What would he think about Mitt Romney?

* Use this link to fact check the statistics I quote in the video.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Old People Need Not Apply

According to the Labor Department, from January 2009 through December 2011, 6.1 million workers were displaced from jobs they had held for at least 3 years. In January 2012, 56 percent of workers displaced from 2009-11 were re-employed (but it's mostly younger workers).

Last week, Mitt Romney declared that with his one-page economic plan, the country would add “12 million new jobs by the end of his first term.”

But in its semi-annual long-term economic forecast released last April, Macroeconomic Advisers projected that the economy would add 11.8 million jobs from 2012 to 2016.

Moody’s Analytics, another forecasting firm, projects similar job growth. Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, emphasized that he actually expects the economy to remain on the same path, regardless of who is elected.

The Congressional Budget Office’s latest long-term economic forecast, released last January, showed that employment would grow by 10 million from the first quarter of 2013 to the first quarter of 2017, the dates of the next presidential term. The CBO’s jobs numbers would probably look stronger if they assumed Congress does not allow taxes to go up on the middle-class after the Bush tax cuts expire in January 2013.

And consider this: Mitt Romney, in his stump speeches on the campaign trail, has blamed President Obama for all our low-paying jobs, even though it was his time at Bain Capital that was all about down-sizing and outsourcing jobs. (Does the pot call the kettle black?) One of Mitt Romney's most boasted accomplishments was Staples, which is nothing but a mass of low-paying jobs.

Pew Research says that since the beginning of George W. Bush's administration, the middle class has shrunk in size, and has fallen backward in both income and wealth. During that time 52,000 factories fled our shores, costing the U.S. over 8 million jobs during that time.

But young people still have a chance. It's the older ones that have to worry (especially if Romney and Ryan are elected in November).

Americans nearing retirement age have suffered disproportionately after the financial crisis: along with the declining value of their homes, which were intended to cushion their final years, their incomes have fallen sharply. The typical household income for people age 55 to 64 years old is almost 10 percent less in today’s dollars than it was when the recovery officially began three years ago, according to a new report from Sentier Research.

Across the country, in almost every demographic, Americans earn less today than they did in June 2009, when the recovery technically started. As of June of this year, the "median household income" for all Americans was $50,964, or 4.8 percent lower than its level three years earlier. (That's $25,482 per person in earnings, since most households now have two incomes --- 50% of all Americans earn less than $26,000 a year; the poverty threshold for a family of four is $ 22,000.

Sustained unemployment among older workers may be partly to blame for this decline. Once older workers lose their jobs, they have an unusually hard time finding re-employment. And even when they do find new work, they usually have to take a pay cut.

Single unemployed people have since gained back 90% of the jobs, according to the Labor Department. Whereas married people, who make up a slightly larger part of the adult population, have only recouped about 22%. People under age 35 have been gaining far more jobs than those over 35.

Younger workers are more likely to be single than those over 35; and younger people had been much more likely to experience unemployment, but they've also been returning to work far much quicker.

Single people are more likely to take low wage positions because they are able to --- they don't have ties to mortgages, and can move to a new location in order to take a job.

Among workers near retirement — ages 55 to 64 — few found re-employment. And nearly a quarter were no longer counted as part of the labor force. Some, who qualified, went on disability.

Those 65 or older were even more likely to "drop out" of the labor force (the "unemployable", because of age), and about half did so. Although, people in that demographic have a relatively easier time getting by without a job because they can receive their full Social Security benefits and pensions at 65. Many others were financially desperate and were forced to take less benefits at age 62.

The GOP wants to raise the full retirement age to 70...which is bad if someone breaks their back every day for 50 years at a very labor intensive job. (Some people with cozy desk jobs, like members of Congress, can retire at 55.)

There's been legislation for age discrimination on the books for many years, but under the Civil Rights Act, there's a loophole regarding "bona fide occupational qualifications" which allows employers to skirt the law.

So many older workers are forced to take low-wage jobs like greeters at Wal-Mart (America's largest private sector employer), earning a poultry salary with no healthcare benefits.

Minimum wage workers today (in today's dollars) are taking home almost $7,000 less over the course of a year than minimum wage workers took home in 1968.

The 50 largest employers of low-wage workers are in strong financial positions, and their top executive compensation averaged $9.4 million last year --- and they have returned $174.8 billion to shareholders in dividends or share buybacks over the past five years.

The Waltons of Wal-Mart have a combined net worth of over $100 billion (not counting the money they hide). How do you think they became, so rich? Paying slave wages (for the same reason why jobs are outsourced.)

Read: $1 Trillion a Year in Personal Income is not Taxed at all for Social Security and Medicare

An Informative Report From Pew Research: The Lost Decade of the Middle Class

My newest video: "Mitt Romney's Money"

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Romney to give Mormon State our Federal Land and Oil

Mitt Romney’s proposed energy blueprint, which he says will wean America off foreign oil in seven years, dovetails with what Utah Republicans have wanted: empowering states to control the permitting of oil and gas drilling on federal lands.

Mitt Romney unveiled an energy plan that is heavy on oil and low on regulations.

CBS News: "Romney predicted that his administration would be able to increase the amount of oil barrels produced per day from 15 million to 28 million, by increasing drilling - offshore, in Alaska, and through hydro-fracking - as well as boosting the production of natural gas and bio-fuels and importing more energy from neighboring Canada with the pipeline.

His campaign released a 21-page white paper outlining his energy strategy, which was broken into six steps. In addition to giving states control over energy development on federal lands within their borders and expanding off-shore drilling on the coasts, a Romney administration will pursue a North American energy partnership that will include the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. They also plan to overhaul the permitting and regulation process and promote private-sector energy development through investments in research."

The federal government owns vast portions of states like New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Alaska. Giving states control over the energy resources on millions of acres of federal lands would be a radical shift from decades of policies under both Democratic and Republican presidents, dating all the way to Theodore Roosevelt.

Salt Lake Tribune: "The Utah Legislature is already several steps ahead of Romney in trying to wrangle control of federal lands, which make up some 60 percent of the state. Lawmakers passed a law this year directing the federal government to hand over most lands, except national parks, to the state by 2014 — and the state is prepared to take the battle to court if federal officials balk."

It's all part of the Romney Covenant.

Most Unemployed were once Middle-Class

Tanya Wells of Williamsburg, Virginia said in an interview on MSNBC last Sunday that she and her husband had good jobs until 2008, but not anymore. "We had jobs. We were making good money. We were your average middle class family, living comfortably. All of a sudden the rug got pulled out from under us and we are -- along with the rest of the people from the middle class -- we are now poor."

Wells, who is 32 and lives with her husband and two kids, relies on Medicaid, food stamps and student loans to help take care of her family. She said she and her husband are pursuing degrees in order to boost their employability. She used to work as an oil company's logistics coordinator, her husband as a sheet metal mechanic, and together they earned $100,000. Now they're bringing in $18,000.

Florida Governor Rick Scott will claim he saved the State's economy by kicking people off unemployment.

A 65-year-old Florida resident named Raymond Togyer is polishing his resume, cold calling potential employers, and spending hours trying, unsuccessfully, to navigate Florida's labyrinthine unemployment compensation system.

Togyer -- who was laid off for the first time in his adult life from a high-paying civil engineering job in June -- has been sending and resending letters, staying on hold for hours and checking state websites, all to no avail. He is one of hundreds of thousands of out-of-work Floridians flummoxed by what has become the most tightfisted unemployment compensation system in the nation.

"They told me that I was eligible and that I was going to be getting $275 a week," said the Togyer of Fort Lauderdale. "That was seven weeks ago. To this day I have not received anything. I'm draining my savings to pay my bills."

Maybe with tropical storm Iassc passing so close to the GOP convention in Tampa, it might be a warning from God.

Pew Research says that since the beginning of George W. Bush's administration, the middle class has shrunk in size, and has fallen backward in both income and wealth. During that time 52,000 factories fled our shores, costing the U.S. over 8 million jobs during that time.

"For the first time since the end of World War II, family incomes declined for Americans in all income tiers. But the middle-income tier is the only one that also shrunk in size, a trend that has continued over the past four decades."

Bill Clinton recently said, "This election to me is about which candidate is more likely to return us to full employment. The Republican plan is to cut more taxes on upper-income people and go back to deregulation. That's what got us in trouble in the first place."

See my post: Starve the Beast - The GOP's 30-Year Strategy

Starve the Beast - The GOP 30 Year Strategy

The upcoming election is the most important election in decades. If Mitt Romney is elected and the Republicans take control of the Senate and retain the majority in the House, they will finally be in place to implement their master plan of "Starve the Beast".

"Starve the Beast" meant selling the idea of trickle-down economics to the public and cutting taxes so low that the government would be starved for tax revenues, thereby forcing cuts in government spending.

Most of the tax cuts have been be realized by the very wealthy (as will more tax cuts), and most of the spending cuts would be realized by the middle-class and poor.

The corporate defense contractors in the military industrial complex would be spared, while Social Security and Medicare would go to the chopping block. The top 1% doesn't NEED Social Security and Medicare.

Corporations outsourced the better paying jobs (mostly union jobs) overseas for cheap labor. Employers don't have to contribute to Social Security and Medicare for these foreign workers, nor offer them safe working conditions, healthcare or pension plans - nor abide with any environmental regulations. Have you seen the air in China lately?

Corporations also lobbied Congress for many tax loopholes, rendering the "statutory" corporate tax rate of 35% to an average "effective" tax rate of 18%.

The CEOs of these corporations earn the bulk of their wages through stocks and stock-options, meaning they pay NO Social Security or Medicare taxes at all on their realized "capital gains" (like Mitt Romney does with his "carried interest"). They pay a lower tax rate on federal income taxes than the workers they laid off once did. People earning a middle-class wage of $50,000 a year pay 25%, and capital gains are taxed at 15%.

When the GOP talks about government debt and spending, the debt is accrued by low taxes on the wealthy and spending on the poor and middle-class.

50% of all Americans now earn less than $26,500 a year (source). The federal poverty line is $23,050 for a family of four. The Republicans claim these people don't pay taxes and "should put more skin in the game."

See my post: Most Unemployed were once Middle-Class

But corporations, with many tax loopholes, by shutting down labor unions, outsourcing jobs, and driving down worker's wages, have also saved a fortune in Social Security and Medicare taxes.

We are "beasts"  that the Republicans want to starve. When the GOP calls for "smaller government", they mean much less for the poor and middle-class and much more for the top 1%.

The top 1% already earns $1 trillion a year and pays no Social Security or Medicare taxes whatsoever. Now they want to completely eliminate these government programs for those same people they profited from for the past 30 years.

Stock Returns & Worker Pay Down, CEO Pay High

2012 - "According to a new report by the AFL-CIO, the average CEO at companies in the S&P 500 earned an average of $12.9 million dollars last year. That's 380 times more than the average worker. That total CEO pay figure includes salary, bonus, stock and option awards and other corner office perks." "Back in 1980, CEOs made 42 times what the average worker earned."

July 3, 2012 - Huffington Post - A study shows CEO pay grew 127 times faster than worker pay over the last 30 years. "American CEOs saw their pay spike 15 percent last year in 2011, after a 28 percent pay rise the year before in 2010. Meanwhile, workers saw their inflation-adjusted wages fall 2 percent in 2011, according to the Labor Department."

That's in line with a trend that dates back three decades. CEO pay spiked 725 percent between 1978 and 2011, while worker pay rose just 5.7 percent, according to a study by the Economic Policy Institute. That means CEO pay grew 127 times faster than worker pay.

Pay for Performance?

According to BusinessWeek, the average CEO of a major corporation made 42 times the average hourly worker's pay in 1980. By 1990 that had almost doubled to 85 times. In 2000, the average CEO salary reached an unbelievable 531 times that of the average hourly worker.

"Pay for performance", tying executive compensation to the financial success of their company, has become very popular in the past decade. In the face of the largest bull market ever, that isn't surprising. It also isn't realistic.

CEOs have been using many gimmicks to increase "shareholder value" (stock prices), one being: using overseas and untaxed profits to buy back their own company shares.

May 23, 2012 - Wall Street Journal: "The Journal/Hay survey says that total direct compensation for 248 CEOs in place more than one year rose 2.8% last year, to a median CEO pay of $10.3 million. That compared with an 11% jump from a slightly different group of 225 CEOs in 2010. Total direct compensation includes salary, annual bonuses and the value of equity and performance-based long-term bonuses at the time of grant."

The highest-paid CEO, based on total direct compensation, was Apple Inc.'s Tim Cook, at $378 million. Apple directors in August granted Mr. Cook one million shares of restricted stock, valued at $376.2 million, when he succeeded Steve Jobs.

A greater and greater percentage of CEO pay is now being given through stock options. In 2010, 54 percent of CEOs’ total pay was in stock and options. Last year, that proportion rose to nearly 59 percent.

NOTE: A lower tax rate is also imposed on capital gains for their stock options (at 15%) whereas, a regular base salary or wage can be taxed up to 35% at the top marginal rate.

Bu contrast, middle-class wages of $50,000 a year are taxed at 25%. Also note: A CEO's wages are capped at $110,000 for Social Security taxes and they are not TAXED AT ALL for Social Security or Medicare on their stock options, which often runs in to the millions of dollars every year for each CEO.

It's also worth noting that 50% of ALL Americans earn LESS than $26,000 a year, forcing married couples to both become wage earners in an attempt to keep up with the cost of living; and why most households depend on at least two incomes to pay for the very basics, such as food, rent, and electricity.

But when it comes to the CEOs and those on the Forbes Fortune 400 list, $1 trillion every year in personal income is not taxed at all for Social Security or Medicare.

CEO Pay Versus Performance

Robert Toth, the CEO of Polypore International, earned $15,163,959 last year, up 727 percent - but shareholder return in the company was only up 8 percent.

Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan’s compensation rose from $1.2 million in 2010 to $7.5 million in 2011. The bulk of that change was a $6.1 million performance-contingent stock grant. The Charlotte bank had a total return for shareholders of negative 58 percent in fiscal 2011.

Among the other CEOs, five saw their pay more than double. Two of them – phone company Fairpoint Communications’ Paul Sunu ($4.3 million, up 448 percent) and tobacco company Lorillard’s Murray Kessler ($13 million, up 250 percent) – were CEOs only part of the year in 2010, accounting for much of the increase. Fairpoint had a negative return of 82 percent, while Lorillard had a return of 46 percent for shareholders. Horizon Lines CEO Charles Raymond retired in 2011, and saw his pay increase 113 percent – mostly due to severance payments – while shareholders saw negative returns of 96 percent.

Lawrence Rogers, CEO of Sealy Corp., saw his pay rise 285 percent, to $4.5 million. The increase was due to a $3.7 million restricted stock unit award he received in 2011. The company had a negative return of 41 percent for shareholders. Sealy said that as a result of the performance, Rogers received no cash bonus. The board awarded him 1.4 million shares of restricted stock that will vest in 2013.

In 2011 Western Refining CEO Jeff Stevens saw his total compensation jump 82%, but his shareholders only realized a 25.6% return on their investment.

Gregg Engles, 54, founded Dean Foods in 1994. His total compensation in 2011 rose 52% to $8.5 million, even though the company lost $1.6 billion amid big write-downs.

Dan DiMicco, CEO of Nucor, was paid $8.1 million, up about 20 percent from 2010. While the company’s return for shareholders was a negative 6.3 percent.

SPX Corp awarded CEO Chris Kearney $7.8 million for 2011, up 18 percent from 2010, but shareholders saw a negative 14 percent return in 2011.

Here's just a short list of other CEOs who received salary increases despite shareholder losses. There are many, many more.
  • Terrance Marks - The Pantry Inc. (resigned last year) $3,088,225, up 105 percent. Shareholder return: Negative 47 percent.
  • Eric Pike - Pike Electric $2,285,826, up 15 percent. Shareholder return: Negative 6 percent.
  • Charles Raymond - Horizon Lines (retired last year) $1,446,218, up 113 percent. Shareholder return: Negative 96 percent.
  • Michael Hough - Hatteras Financial $1,398,164, up 64 percent. Shareholder return: Less than 1 percent.
  • Murray Kessler - Lorillard Inc. $13,006,468, up 250 percent. Shareholder return: 46 percent.
  • Steve Macadam - Enpro Industries $5,526,357, up 32 percent. Shareholder return: Negative 21 percent.
  • Charles Swoboda - Cree Inc. $5,351,671, up 25 percent. Shareholder return: Negative 48 percent.
  • Carolyn Logan - Salix Pharmaceuticals $5,027,041, up 32 percent. Shareholder return: only 2 percent.
  • Robert Harrison - Alliance One International (now retired) $4,707,022, up 74 percent. Shareholder return: Negative 21 percent.
  • Edward Fritsch - Highwoods Properties $3,584,448, up 5 percent. Shareholder return: Negative 2 percent.
  • David King - Laboratory Corp. $10,870,216, up 14 percent. Shareholder return: Negative 2 percent.
  • Richard Noll - Hanesbrands Inc. $10,259,939, up 5 percent. Shareholder return: Negative 14 percent.
  • Brandon Bethards - Babcock & Wilcox $5,769,562, up 1 percent. Shareholder return: Negative 6 percent.

Performance Debunked

BusinessWeek: Graef Crystal, a pioneer in compensation consulting, analyzed the 2009 pay of 271 chief executive officers. His findings? "Simply put," Crystal says, "companies don't pay for performance."

In an ideal world, Crystal and many investors agree, stock performance and CEO pay should be closely aligned. But no matter how he parsed the numbers, Crystal discovered there's no relationship between shareholder returns and CEO compensation.

Crystal created a "fair pay" model that redistributed the $2.7 billion aggregate payroll of all of the CEOs according to each company's shareholder return, and adjusted it for company size. Under that model, CEOs such as Frank Baldino Jr., the founder of Cephalon, was the most overpaid, according to Crystal's algorithm: He took home $11.15 million, 800 times more than what the model said he deserved.

Crystal recommends awarding stock options with a strike price that's the average of the last 90 days and can't be exercised for five years to avoid "opportunistic" pricing. He also suggests reducing bonuses if incentive targets aren't met.

Some of Crystal's former clients have called him a Judas for criticizing the system he used to be a part of. He prefers to be compared to Mary Magdalene. "Maybe I was a hooker," he says. "But I'm hoping to end my life as a saint."

According to Crystal, the companies that overpaid their CEOs by the most were:

  • Cephalon, 732 percent overpaid
  • Allegheny Energy, 554 percent overpaid
  • Eastman Kodak, 278 percent overpaid
  • Exxon Mobil, 278 percent overpaid
  • Comcast, 256 percent overpaid

Old Fashion Greed

As corporate taxes have gone down over the last 30 years, CEO's pay packages have gone up. As good jobs have been outsourced overseas for cheaper labor, domestic wages for the CEO's employees have gone down. As wages go down for domestic workers (and tax loopholes increased for American CEOs) tax revenues have declined as a percent of GDP, because of the tax laws that congress writes favoring large corporations and their CEOs, not average American workers or REAL small businesses owners (those that actually hire workers, not hedge fund managers, etc).

Corporations are always breaking the law for profits, but because they have "limited liability" their CEOs often don't get sued personally or go to jail - the company is usually slapped with a small fine. To see another list of CEOs who committed crimes and fraud (and who were caught and punished so far), read my posts: Job Creators: The Root of Most Evil and Proof that CEOs are Evil Psychopaths

* To see the original SEC document for each company and more detail (called a DEF 14A) go to this link.

Also, Google: Bud Meyers tax evasion


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

War Heroes Denied Right to Vote in Ohio

The Republican-controlled legislature in Ohio decreed that only ACTIVE military personnel or their families could cast in-person votes on the final Saturday-Monday before the November elections...but many African-American war heroes and retired or disabled military veterans can not.

The GOP is supporting the restriction of voting rights that include many of the 913,000 Ohio veterans. An estimated 200,000 of them served during the Persian Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan wars alone. Ohio also has one of the highest unemployment rates for our military veterans.

Frank Buckles

Frank Buckles, who was the last surviving U.S. veteran of World War I, died at his home in Charles Town, Virginia last year. He was 110 years old. If he had lived another year and resided in the State of Ohio, he would not have been allowed to vote early on week-ends.

Brew Graham

Congressional Medal of Honor Brew Graham, 97, was one of the first Black pilots who fought in WWII and is the oldest living Tuskegee airman. But he wouldn't be able to vote on week-ends in Ohio because he is no longer ACTIVE military personnel.

Charlie Rangel

U.S. Congressman Charlie Rangel was awarded a Purple Heart, the Bronze Star and three battle stars for his brave service in the Korean War...he wouldn't be allowed to vote on week-ends in Ohio because he is no longer ACTIVE military personnel.

John Kerry

Senator John Kerry received three Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star, and a Silver Star for his service in the Vietnam War...and he wouldn't be able to vote on week-ends in Ohio either.

Bradley Manning

Before being arrested after the WikiLeaks scandal, Private Bradley Manning WOULD have been able to vote on week-ends in Ohio (because he was ACTIVE military personnel).

Why do Ohio Republicans suddenly feel so strongly about limiting early voting hours in Democratic counties? GOP Chair Doug Preisse gave a surprisingly blunt answer to the Columbus Dispatch on Sunday:

“I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban—read
African-American—voter-turnout machine.”

Many Americans who fought in wars for this country, will not be able to exercise their most basic Constitutional right in the great State of Ohio....the right to vote.

Disabled vets who are homeless in Ohio will be denied the right to vote because they are no longer ACTIVE in the U.S. military.

Sean Gittens

Army Sergeant First Class Sean Gittens served in the army for 20 years and was deployed three times - first during Desert Storm. The last time he volunteered to go back to Iraq he was left paralyzed as a result of an IED injury.

Besides Ohio, voter suppression laws are being passed in many other states as well. Last year Republicans controlled both chambers in 26 state legislatures, and 21 of those states also have GOP governors. Unlike past reforms that sought to expand access to voting, a massive effort has been underway to restrict voting in the upcoming elections purely for partisan gain.

How many war heroes, in Ohio and across the nation, who fought and risked their lives for democracy and the right to vote, are now being denied that right?

And I suspect that many of the Republicans who wrote and voted for those voter suppression laws are draft dodgers.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Romney and Ryan on Corporate Taxes

DUMB AND DUMBER: People who earn less than a million dollars a year (and don't realize that Romney and Ryan are both liars) and vote for them; and those who DO know they're liars, but vote for them anyway.

Today in a speech with Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan has again touted Canada's low corporate tax rate.

Paul Ryan has repeatedly praised the Canadian conservative government's decision to lower their corporate rate to 15 per cent, pointing to the U.S. "statutory" rate of 35 per cent (not the "effective" tax rate) as increasingly uncompetitive.

Ryan doesn't mention that in Canada, the corporate tax cuts that were supposed to create jobs, have instead only allowed companies to hoard cash and pay larger CEO salaries.

Over a quarter century ago, in 1984, the Washington, D.C.- based Citizens for Tax Justice released its first in-depth report on how much America’s top profitable corporations were actually paying in taxes.

America’s top companies, this initial study found, were paying only 14.1 percent of their profits in taxes, less than a third of the corporate tax rate then in effect.

The last Citizens for Tax Justice tax report says America’s top corporations are now getting what essentially amounts to a 50 percent discount off their tax bills.

If Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan had their way, corporations would pay NO taxes and their CEOs would pay NO capital gains taxes either, because both Romney and Ryan earn a great deal off money from corporations paying capital gains.

Read: How Corporate Tax Dodgers (like Mitt Romney) Hoarded $2 Trillion

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Rich Pays Far Less in Taxes than the Poor... a percent of their income.

Capital gains are taxed lower than regular wages and not taxed at all for Social Security & Medicare...and a greater percentage of discretionary spending by the poor is taxed, as well as their income for food, shelter, and energy.

In 1921 "realized capital gains" used to be taxed the very same as regular income and wages, when the top marginal income tax rate was once 73%.

Then the Republican Secretary of the Treasury (and banker) Andrew Mellon argued that significant tax reduction [for the rich] was necessary in order to "spur economic expansion and restore prosperity" (just like the Republicans had argued a decade ago with George W. Bush, and are again saying in 2012 after the rich "job creators" already had historically low tax rates that helped spur the Great Recession.

In 1976 the capital gains tax rate was as high as 39.9%. In 1987 the capital gains tax rate went down to 28%

President Ronald Reagan ended the oil windfall profits tax and in 1981 he reduced the maximum capital gains rate to only 20%—its lowest level since President Herbert Hoover's administration (then America had the Roaring Twenties, just before the Great Depression).

Ronald Reagan's tax cut mostly benefited the very wealthy and in 1986 President Reagan set tax rates on capital gains to the same level as the rates on ordinary income, like salaries and wages, with both topping out at 28 percent.

President Clinton kept the top capital gains tax rate at 28% until 1997, when he agreed to lower that tax rate to 20%. He later admitted on national TV in 2012 that he now regrets lowering the capital gains tax rate.

In 2003 President Bush lowered the capital gains tax rate even further, to 15% (where it now stands today) while starting two un-funded wars without raises taxes - the first time ever in U.S. history). (Historical Capital gains tax rates)

In 2012 President Obama suggested the "Warren Rule", which would raise the top tax rate to 30% for those earning over $1 million a year, which is STILL LOWER than the current top marginal rate of 35% for regular income and wages.

Starting next year, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan would prefer that capital gains should not be taxed at all! Last year Mitt Romney earned $20 million in capital gains (not including all his unreported foreign investments); and Paul Ryan earned $50,000 in capital gains (and paid a penalty for dodging taxes).

For 2011 Paul Ryan paid a tax rate of 20% on his gross income, while Mitt Romney's estimated 2011 tax rate is only 15% (It was only 13.9% in 2010).

By comparison, middle-class wage earners (such as union workers in the public and private sectors) who earn $50,000 a year have a 25% tax rate. Meanwhile, the Social Security Administration reports that 50% of ALL Americans now only earn less than $26,500 a year.

Of the $5 trillion in U.S. wages for FY2010, $1 trillion in personal incomes for the top 1% was NOT TAXED AT ALL for Social Security and Medicare, and most of their earnings were taxed at only 15% for capital gains.

Let's put this in true perspective: As reported by the business channel CNBC, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (listed further below) the top 15 highest paid jobs (on average) doesn't even rank in the top marginal income tax bracket of 35% -- and 97% of "real" small business owners pay themselves a salary of LESS than $250,000 a year.

Most people in the very top marginal income bracket are people like movie stars and professional athletes -- and the CEOs of large corporations, big banks, and hedge fund mangers, those whose principle income is from capital gains, especially the richest of the rich, the billionaires on the Fortune 400 list.

The Top 15 Highest Paid Jobs (not including capital gains,  just regular wages)
  1. Doctors and Surgeons - Average annual salary: $168,650-$234,950 - Current employment: 618,000 plus - Anesthesiologists are the highest paid workers of 2011 at $234,950.
  2. Orthodontists and Dentists - Average annual salary: $161,750-$204,670 -Current employment: 101,400
  3. CEOs - Average annual BASE salary: $176,550 Current employment: 267,370 (doesn't include stock options,
    which can be in the millions of dollars, and is taxed as capital gains at 15%)
  4. Petroleum Engineers - Average annual salary: $138,980 - Current employment: 30,880
  5. Lawyers - Average annual salary: $130,490 - Current employment: 570,950. The top three highest paying industries for lawyers are petroleum and coal at around $215,760 per year.
  6. Architectural and Engineering Managers - Average annual salary: $129,350 - Current employment: 184,530
  7. Natural Science Managers - Average annual salary: $128,230 - Current employment: 47,510
  8. Marketing Managers - Average annual salary: $126,190 - Current employment: 168,410
  9. Computer and Information Systems Managers - Average annual salary: $125,660 - Current employment: 300,830
  10. Industrial-Organizational Psychologists - Average annual salary: $124,160 - Current employment: 1,230
  11. Financial Manager - Average annual salary: $120,450 - Current employment: 477,690
  12. Airline Pilots, Copilots and Flight Engineers - Average annual salary: $118,070 - Current employment: 68,350
  13. Sales Managers - Average annual salary: $116,860 - Current employment: 328,230
  14. Air Traffic Controller - Average annual salary: $114,460 - Current employment: 23,580
  15. Pharmacist Average Salary: $112,160 - Current Employment: 272,320

Two earlier Congressional Budget Office studies in 2006 and 2002 showed that capital gains revenues fluctuate wildly without regard to the tax rate or who is president,

The CBO concluded in the 2006 study that about half of the 2004 surge in capital gains realizations remained unexplained. And the CBO concluded in the 2002 study that "the relationship of realizations and receipts to gains tax rates is neither predictable or

In other words, no matter what the tax rate is on capital gains, people are still going to do whatever they can to make money, and no matter what the tax rate is, it doesn't have an affect on GNP. The middle-class thrived and the rich got rich in the 1950's when taxes were once very high on individuals and corporations.

So we should tax capital gains as REGULAR WAGES, close the deficit gap, and stop the Republican strategy of "STARVE THE BEAST".

We should also remove the $110,000 CAP on wages for Social Security taxes and tax capital gains as "regular wages" and tax them for Social Security and Medicare like we do for "regular wages".

Mitt Romney was "a pioneer of outsourcing" when President Obama was still in school. Romney either laid off people and rehired them back at half their previous wages, or sent the better paying jobs to places like China.

Now Romney is blaming Obama for all the low-paying jobs at Staples and Dominos pizza, or those low-paying jobs provided by our 2nd and 3rd largest employers (Wal-Mart and McDonalds), corporations that usually provide part-time jobs averaging $8 an hour and offer no healthcare benefits or pension plans.

The Republicans want to starve government revenues by further reducing taxes on the top 1% and forcing cuts in programs like Social Security and Medicare...and keep capital gains from ever being taxed for Social Security and Medicare.

Tell me, just exactly when in U.S. history did America's super-rich ever make their "shared sacrifice"? They paid lower tax rates, dodged the taxes they did owe, and the dodged the military draft that protected their financial assets.

* For more details, GOOGLE:

  • Bud Meyers SWAG investments
  • Bud Meyers tax evasion
  • Bud Meyers corporate taxes
  • Bud Meyers capital gains
  • Bud Meyers Mitt Romney
  • Bud Meyers taxes

Saturday, August 18, 2012

90% of Re-hires were Young People

90% of younger people were re-hired to work after the massive lay-offs during the recession, whereas only 22% of older people were ever rehired.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics focused on the marital status, without blaming age discrimination...but the statistics glaringly point that way.

According to the Labor Department, single unemployed people have since gained back 90% of the jobs, whereas married people (who tend to be older and make up a slightly larger part of the adult population) have only recouped about 22% of the lost jobs.

People under the age 35 have been gaining far more jobs than those over 35, which can only mean that many younger people were being hired to fill jobs that older people had lost.

Younger workers are more likely to be single than those over 35; and younger people had been much more likely to experience unemployment, but they've also been returning to work far much quicker.

Single people are more likely to take low wage positions or move to a new location in order to take a job.

But the Labor Department doesn't mention that most younger people were probably laid off because they had less seniority at the work place (and were the first laid off); and that younger people could also better relocate because they weren't tied down to a home mortgage.


Friday, August 17, 2012

Secret Trade Agreement Subjects Taxpayers to Foreign Corporations

After Two Years of Closed-Door Negotiations, Trans-Pacific Partnership Leak Replicates Alarming Bush Trade Pact Terms That Obama Opposed as Candidate

A leak of one of the most controversial chapters of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) reveals that extreme provisions have been agreed to by U.S. officials, providing a stark warning about the dangers of “trade” negotiations occurring under conditions of extreme secrecy without press, public or policymaker oversight.

Via closed-door negotiations, U.S. officials are rewriting swaths of U.S. law that have nothing to do with trade and in a move that will submit the U.S. government to the jurisdiction of foreign tribunals that can order unlimited payments of our tax dollars to foreign corporations that don’t want to comply with the same laws our domestic firms do.

Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, says that although the TPP has been branded a “trade” agreement, the leaked text of the pact’s Investment Chapter shows that the TPP would:

  • Limit how U.S. federal and state officials could regulate foreign firms operating within U.S. boundaries, with requirements to provide them greater rights than domestic firms;
  • Extend the incentives for U.S. firms to offshore investment and jobs to lower-wage countries;
  • Establish a two-track legal system that gives foreign firms new rights to skirt U.S. courts and laws, directly sue the U.S. government before foreign tribunals and demand compensation for financial, health, environmental, land use and other laws they claim undermine their TPP privileges.

Allow foreign firms to demand compensation for the costs of complying with U.S. financial or environmental regulations that apply equally to domestic and foreign firms.

While about 600 official U.S. corporate advisors have access to TPP texts, and have a special role in advising U.S. negotiators for the public, press and policymakers, this leak (on June 13, 2012) provides the first access to one of the prospective TPP’s most controversial chapters.

Last May, U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), chair of the Senate Finance Committee’s Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs and Global Competitiveness (the committee with jurisdiction over the TPP) filed legislation to open the process after he and his staff were denied access to the U.S. proposals for the TPP negotiations.

The U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk defended the unprecedented secrecy of TPP negotiations by noting that when the draft of a major regional trade pact was released previously, it became impossible to finish the deal as then proposed.

“The top U.S. trade official effectively has said that the administration must keep TPP agreement secret because otherwise they wouldn't be able to shove this deal past the public and Congress,” said Wallach. “The airing of this one TPP chapter, which greatly favors foreign corporations over domestic businesses and the public interest, and exposes us to significant financial liabilities, shows that the whole draft text must be released immediately so it can be reviewed and debated. Absent that, these negotiations must be ended now.”

The TPP is the first trade pact that the Obama administration is negotiating. The leak last June further complicates the administration’s goal of completing TPP negotiations this fall. Already the TPP timeline was generating political headaches for the Obama re-election campaign, as repeated U.S polling shows that majorities of Democrats, Independents and Republicans oppose more NAFTA-style trade deals.

The TPP may well be the last trade agreement that the U.S. negotiates. This is because TPP, if completed, would have a new feature relative to past U.S. trade pacts: It would remain open for any other country to join later. USTR Kirk said that he "would love nothing more” than to have China join TPP.

The TPP offered an opportunity to develop a new model of trade agreement that could deliver the benefits of expanded trade without unduly undermining signatory nations’ domestic public interest policies or establishing special privileges for foreign corporations.

President Barack Obama and countless members of Congress have campaigned on fixing these investment rules to better protect the public interest, but Public Citizen’s analysis of this text shows that the U.S. positions do not reflect any of the changes that candidate Obama pledged when he recognized the threats posed by the NAFTA-style investment provisions in trade agreements.

The leak also reveals that:

  • Australia has refused to submit to the jurisdiction of the “investor-state” private corporate enforcement foreign tribunal system.
  • U.S. negotiators are alone in seeking to expand this extra-judicial enforcement system to allow the use of foreign tribunals to enforce contracts that foreign investors may have with a government for government procurement, or to operate utilities contracts related to concessions for natural resources on federal lands.
  • Other countries are proposing safeguards for financial regulation and limits to the corporate tribunals that the U.S. has not supported.

Trade advisers for the notorious secret trade agreement are being negotiated by the Obama administration. The TransPacific Partnership will meet in Leesburg, Virginia from September 6th to 15th.

Advocacy groups are working together to put a spotlight on this agreement which will set the rules for international business dealings for the foreseeable future and gives transnational corporations more power than governments.

There will be events outside of the meeting to educate the public about this trade agreement and actions to let the trade advisers know that the public opposes the TPP. For more info, contact

Public Citizen’s analysis of the leaked text and guided tour through its provisions can be found here. Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit public interest organization based in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit

Trade Agreement Passes in Middle of Job Crisis

Trade Agreement (TAA) Held Hostage for Jobless Benefits

Today's CEOs are People Without Virtue or Honor

From the HuffPo Hill newsletter: "The Heritage Foundation has discovered another example of President Obama helping poor people slide into lives of sinful dependency, this time by waiving food stamp time-limits for able-bodied adults who have been unable to find jobs. If only Americans would just get back to work already, America's future would be so much brighter!"

The right-wing Heritage Foundation reports that "the number of able-bodied adults without children on food stamps has doubled, increasing from 1.7 million people in 2009 to 3.9 million in 2010."

Maybe the Heritage Foundation has never heard of the Great Recession, a historic time in American history when millions of Americans were laid off from their jobs through no fault of their own because of greed in the financial industry.

The Heritage Foundation's biggest concern seems to be, not so much about poor or hungry Americans, but about the scheduled modest cuts in spending to the military-industrial complex. They write, "Defense would bear as much as 43 percent of total sequestration cuts, even though it makes up only about 11 percent of total federal spending." (What? Only 11%?)

They go on to complain that, "On the other hand, entitlements, which comprise over half of all federal spending and are the fastest growing part of the budget, would remain essentially untouched, receiving only 15 percent of the cuts. But this would be a reduction of less than 1 percent of all entitlement spending."

OK, so let me get this straight: It's more important to Heritage Foundation to keep the CEOs in the defense industry fat and happy with their multi-million dollar salaries every year, at the expense of poor and hungry American children?

Are the poor, disabled, elderly, retired and homeless people in this country so concerned about a foreign invasion, that they'd rather build more tanks, jets and submarines, rather that have food, shelter, and healthcare?

But this type of corporate greed (enabled by crooked politicians who are influenced by right-wing "think tanks) hasn’t always been popular in Western societies. Societies in medieval Europe would find this type of greed today “blatantly selfish economic behavior,” says Stanford University historian Linda Stokes, “and simply unacceptable.”

What would the entrepreneurs of those medieval times think of our contemporary CEOs today? Observes the Stanford researcher, “A medieval businessman would surely be impressed by the successes of his modern descendants, but he would also despise them as men without honor or virtue.”

Here's a short list of those people "without honor or virtue" that I despise.

If Mitt Romney is Elected President...

If Mitt Romney is elected President, can you imagine what America might be like? Below is short list of those who have been very influential in the current Republican Party, and who might have access to the Oval Office and War Room next year.

1) The billionaire Koch brothers who financed the Tea Party and wants to end Social Security.

2) The Mormon convert and delusional conspiracy theorist, Glenn Beck, a multi-millionaire who helped propagate the Tea Party movement before being fired by Fox News.

3) The Jewish billionaire and casino mogul, Sheldon Adelson, who is very anti-labor and is currently under investigation for bribing foreign government officials in China (and whose loyalty is to Israel, not America.)

4) Racist Southern "Dixiecrats" in Congress (who now call themselves Republicans), who hold many of the same views today that the KKK held 40 years ago.

5) The greedy and serial adulterer, Newt Gingrich and the racist Rick Santorum, who both think that most Americans on food stamps, welfare, and Medicaid are deliberately lazy and unemployed and/or black.

6) The egocentric billionaire (millionaire?) and casino mogul Donald Trump, who doesn't know that the State of Hawaii joined the Union 3 years before President Obama was born. I know, I was living there as a young boy when my father was stationed there at Hickam Air Force Base. Remember Pearl Harbor?

7) Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly, both multi-millionaires, who spent most of their time on Fox News over the past four years slandering the President of the United States.

8) The wealthy Paul Ryan, who worshiped the Russian atheist Ayn Rand and was chastised by the Catholic church for his harsh policies towards the poor. He's the guy that wants to end reform "fix" Medicare.

9) Mike Huckabee, the hypocritical ex-Baptist minister and ex-Governor of Arkansas who preferred renewing his lucrative contract with Fox News and pursuing his book sales rather than run for president in 2012.

10) Sarah Palin (Nuff said)

11) Grover Norquist, the radical anti-tax and anti-government advocate who wants to "Starve the Beast" (starve the U.S. government of all revenues needed to run the country.)

12) The serial liar and the likely next Apostle of the Mormon church, multi-millionaire (billionaire?) Mitt Romney, who dodges taxes and dodged the military draft; and who wants to lower taxes for millionaires and billionaires -- even though their tax rates are already historically low.

13) The wealthy and radical Michele Bachmann, who "prays the gay away" and takes government subsidies while receiving a very generous government salary and enjoys a gold-plated government healthcare policy; but at the same time, wants to "take our country back" and deny healthcare to everyone else.

14) The clown and irrelevant pizza king, multi-millionaire Herman Cain, who is also a pathological liar and serial stalker. "Nine-nine-nine!"

15) Big mouth and mega-multi-millionaire, Rush Limbaugh, who lives in a mansion on the beach in Palms Springs Florida and has nothing better to do with his life than spew hate on the radio. Did I mention he's ignorant too? He thinks women have to take a birth control pill every time they participate in an act of sex! He is living PROOF of the American Dream...anyone can get rich in this country!

16) Ann Romney, the plain and simple "stay-at-home" mom --- who has no idea how much money the Romneys have in their IRA account, foreign bank accounts, or their blind trust funds.

Stop!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I could go on all day! Can you imagine all these people visiting the White House and micro-managing our lives over the next 4 years? But for the grace of God....

In an interview with Fortune, Mitt Romney outlined some of the cuts he'd make to get the country's finances in order. Sam Stein at the HuffPo writes: "Romney identified subsidies for Amtrak, PBS, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities as some of the things he would eliminate.

Romney also said he would block grant Medicaid and send programs like housing vouchers and food stamps back to the states to use as they please.

He said he would reduce the number of federal programs by 10 percent through attrition, while tying the compensation of federal workers to that in the private sector -- which are now mostly low-paying jobs in the service industry, such as Staples, Dominos, McDonalds, and Wal-Mart -- part-time jobs that offer no pensions or healthcare plans (thanks in part to Mitt Romney).

Ann Romney recently said, "We have a reason why we're running and it's because I believe in my heart that Mitt is going to save America." (Save America from what and from who? The Catholics?)

REVEALED: The GOP Strategy

Is the GOP employing a racist strategy to get Mitt Romney into the White House? Watch this video to find out.

Visit  to learn more.

Add to my list of selfish, crazy, and greedy people with a comment below.

The Romney Covenant

I just launched a new website at www.TheRomneyCovenant.Com

As a former Republican for 30 years and an advocate of the Tea Party in 2009, I felt it was imperative that I put up this website to warn Tea Party members just who they are voting for.

While it's true that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan both hate "government", they both have many different reasons. Romney, for his religious faith and the Mormon's history of conflict with the U.S. government; and Ryan, for his adoration of the Russian atheist Ayn Rand.

You'll still have "big government" with Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, but the only difference is, your tax dollars will be going to the defense industry, rather than Medicare and Social Security.

Obama is no Socialist. Despite his early college-day associations with Marxists, Obama is actually to the right of the Democratic President FDR (who was elected unanimously by the deep south for 4 straight terms during the Great Depression and World War II.). Obama is even to the right of the Republican World War II general and war hero President Dwight D. Eisenhower!

I too once received all my information from Fox News and believed everything they told me. I believed Glenn Beck (the Mormon convert), Bill O'Reilly, and Sean Hannity...until I realized they were all multi-millionaires who were only looking out after their own self- interests, not ours.

The early Mormon pioneers were encouraged to keep diaries and journals. Most of the information cited in this website was derived from historians obtained through their logs and other records through time, academic articles and studies, including news sources and testimony from ex-Mormons (with some of my own personal opinions interjected).

Learn who Mitt Romney really is, and why he's been so secretive about his life and income tax returns. You might be surprised.

The RNC, Nudie Bars and Family Values

Sarah Palin won't be at the GOP convention in Tampa Florida, but her look-alike will be taking off all her clothes for the GOP attendees.

Strip clubs in Tampa are ready to cash in on the approaching G.O.P. convention. And these aren't your daddy's topless bars; these gentlemen's clubs are elite lounges with fully nude dancers offering contact lap dances with bottles of expensive champagne and limo service.

Republican conventioneers will have 60 strip bars to choose from. Thee Dollhouse is bringing in Lisa Ann, the Sarah Palin impersonator who is also an adult film star.

Glenn Beck's website appears to be almost advertising these clubs with glee. They write, "Florida’s strip club owners are pretty convinced that the Republican National Convention attendees aren’t as concerned with family values as they may appear, and they expect that bringing in a stripper who dresses like Sarah Palin is the perfect way to entice them."

Congressional Republicans have reportedly held sessions warning that even "innocent" behavior in Tampa could be "distorted" with just a single cell phone shot.

Many strip club owners are well aware that some people will want to be discreet about going to one of the area's strip bars. Former RNC Chairman Michael Steele knows firsthand how a scandal can cause issues for a political brand. He ultimately lost his bid for another term as head of the party committee after news reports revealed that the RNC paid for donors at a strip club.

To protect the convention-goers privacy, Don Kleinhans, co-owner of 2001 Odyssey (a full nude club) says they will be putting up a drive-thru tent in the back, so someone wanting privacy while entering or leaving the club will not be seen by the public.

"They can actually come in and have direct access to the spaceship VIP room without having to go through any typical public areas," Kleinhans said. "We've been told to expect two to three times more people than what a Super Bowl would be."

One full-nude gentleman's club, Skin Tampa, is advertising its proximity to the Tampa Bay Times Forum, where the convention will be held. “Closest club to the R.N.C.!” exclaims a banner on the club’s Web site, which also promises “Free transportation and complimentary V.I.P. for R.N.C. Attendees and Press.”

The operations manager says he's not worried about Republicans staying away. "We're glad to have them here and we'll show them a good time," said Eric "Ice" Terrell. In fact, Terrell says they even plan on staying open longer if needed. "We normally close at 6 a.m., but if we have guests, we'll stay open 'til 8 a.m."

Kristen Hubbell, the manager, said, “We’ve had a couple of people stop by and take a look at the club. We had one guy who said he was bringing a group of about a hundred.”

The Penthouse Club, somewhat farther away, devotes a section of its website to the convention, offering “R.N.C. cabanas” for V.I.P. guests and claiming the only multimillion-dollar gentlemen’s club and five-star steakhouse in the area. All pre-order cabana or V.I.P. areas will receive a $1,000 bottle service credit

It's nice to know that all those contributions to the Republican campaign PACs by Christian evangelists are going to a worthy cause.

(Below) Previous attendees at the 2008 RNC.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Mitt Romney and Marriott "Son of Boss" Tax Scam

The Marriott hotel chain was founded by the Mormon missionary J. Willard Marriott in 1927. Mitt Romney has had a close, long-standing, personal and business connection with Marriott International and its founders for decades; and Romney served as a member of the Marriott board of directors for many years.

From 1993 to 1998, Romney was the head of the audit committee of the Marriott board. During that period, Marriott engaged in a series of complex and high-profile maneuvers, including "Son of Boss," a notoriously abusive prepackaged tax shelter that investment banks and accounting firms marketed to corporations such as Marriott. In this respect, Marriott was in the vanguard of a then-emerging corporate tax shelter bubble that substantially undermined the entire corporate tax system. More here at CNN...

From Wiki: Son of BOSS is the informal name for a type of tax shelter used in the United States, one that was designed and promoted by tax advisors in the 1990s to reduce federal tax obligations on capital gains from the sale of a business or other appreciated asset. "BOSS" is an acronym for "bond and option sales strategy", an earlier tax shelter that Son of BOSS resembled.

We are taxed on income, not gross receipts. That means that when you sell something you get to deduct your basis (initial investment). In its simplest manifestation, basis is the amount of money that you paid for something. You buy something for five dollars and sell it for six, your income is one dollar. That could be done with stocks, real estate, or by investing in SWAG (silver, wine, art, and gold)

EXAMPLE: A dime made in 1873 was recently sold for $1.6 million (plus a 15% buyer's fee) at an auction to an anonymous bidder. If the unidentified buyer later sells the dime for a profit, they should be subjected to a 15% capital gains tax on the profit. If they sell it for less than what they paid for it, it might be considered a realized capital loss.

It can be more complicated if you acquire assets in other ways, such as by gift or inheritance. The important point though is that when you sell something, the higher your basis the less your gain or the greater your loss.

The way that the designers of Marriott's "Son of Boss" tax scheme came up involved combining two things – "short sales" and the formation of a partnership. The important tax principle is that the proceeds of a short sale are not gross income. You recognize gain or loss when you close the short sale. Details for the tax scam can also be found at Forbes Magazine: Romney, Marriott And Son Of Boss ---- For Dummies

Because of the tax laws congress writes, every year $1 trillion in personal income from capital gains by high-income earners like Mitt Romney is not taxed at all for Social Security or Medicare, and it is taxed at a lower rate for federal income taxes than Warren Buffett's secretary.

In a campaign advertisement released on August 9, 2012, incumbent President, Barack Obama made specific reference to his GOP opponent Mitt Romney and his involvement in Son of BOSS tax avoidance as a Marriott International board member. - Four ways Romney helped Marriott avoid paying taxes - August 8, 2012

"Son of Boss" tax shelter: Marriott executed a Son of Boss trade in mid-1994—a scheme that manufactures “a gigantic tax loss out of thin air” to offset actual gains “without any economic risk, cost, or loss.” Marriott later filed a return claiming an artificial loss to lower the company’s taxable income. Son of Boss schemes were notorious, involving about 1,800 people and costing the IRS an estimated $6 billion, and was described as “perhaps the largest tax avoidance scheme in history.”

“Spray and pray”: Marriott purchased four synthetic fuel plants in 2001 in order to benefit from federal tax credits for synthetic fuels, a strategy which was dubbed “spray and pray”. In 2002, the company legally claimed $159 million of those credits, reducing their effective tax rate to just 6.8 percent—far below the normal corporate rate of 35%. Even Sen. John McCain criticized Marriott’s behavior: “One of the greatest beneficiaries of this tax shelter—and that is all that it is, a tax shelter—is a very profitable hotel chain: Marriott.’’

"Profit-shifting" to Luxembourg: In 2009, Marriott collected $229 million in revenue—primarily from royalty, licensing and franchising fees—at its Luxembourg subsidiary, Global Hospitality Licensing. The subsidiary reported having only one employee. By the end of 2011, the company $451 million in offshore earnings that it left overseas to delay paying US income taxes. Under Romney’s proposed corporate tax plan, Marriott would never have to pay U.S. taxes on those earnings.

Questionable deductions: The IRS challenged $1 billion in deductions Marriott took related to an employee stock ownership program from 2000 to 2002. The company eventually agreed to pay about $220 million of what it owed in income taxes, excise taxes, and interest to the IRS and a number of states.

Marriott ultimately had to pay over a $220 million fine for using this "Son of Boss" tax sham. As usual, no one went to prison for ripping off the U.S. government -- the government that Romney wants to lead. This "Son of Boss" tax scheme is but just one of thousands of tax "avoidance" tools that the top 1% uses to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.

On February 2012, Marriott International announced the construction of tallest hotel in the Dubai.

Below: One of my first political ads I created and posted to YouTube last week.

GOOGLE: Bud Meyers tax evasion