Category Archives: Economy

Court fines and fees: Another barrier to North Carolina’s ballot box

How much money do you have to pay before you cast your ballot on Election Day?

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For most North Carolinians, the answer might seem obvious: none. As the cornerstone of our democracy, voting is supposed to be fair, accessible – and free. But for an increasing number of North Carolinians, the right to vote can cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

How is that possible? The answer is because North Carolina denies the right to vote to people who have felony convictions but cannot afford to pay their court costs, even if they have satisfied all other probation requirements.

Thanks to an ever-growing system of mandatory fines and fees, those caught up in the criminal justice system can be forced to pay anywhere from $40 to hundreds of dollars a month for the cost of their court administration, jail fees, probation, electronic monitoring, drug testing, even community service – and more. If they are unable to pay, they face a penalty fee for nonpayment, increasing their fees and lengthening their probation period.

These costs have increased substantially over time. In 1999, the base cost a person would pay for a superior court date was $106. Today the base cost is $198 with the potential to grow to more than $10,000 in serious cases as additional penalties snowball. Even if they have served all the terms of their sentence, even if they have had no probation violations, low-income people often remain on probation simply because they are low-income. And in far too many North Carolina courts, judges will not conduct hearings on a person’s inability to pay, as is required by law.

More from NC Policy Watch

Posted by Libergirl

White Working-Class Millennials Are Less Christian, More Republican Than Their Elders Nearly half of young working-class whites do not identify with any religious affiliation.

A large new report from PRRI and The Atlantic examines white, working-class Americans in an effort to explain what motivated them “to support Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton by a margin of roughly two to one” in the 2016 presidential election. The findings tend toward conventional wisdom—except when it comes to white working-class millennials. It turns out this group breaks from their older counterparts in some unexpected ways.

Less than half of young, white, working-class adults identify as Christian.

For the report, “white working class” is defined as non-Hispanic white Americans without a four-year college degree who hold non-salaried jobs. Overall, 71 percent of white working-class Americans identify as Christian, according to the PRRI/Atlantic report. And among “seniors”—defined as those 65 and older—the percentage calling themselves Christians jumps to more than 80 percent.

But among white working-class young adults—defined here as those in the 18- to 29-year-old age range—just 48 percent identify as Christian, with 16 percent describing themselves as evangelical Protestants, 16 percent as mainline Protestants, 10 percent as Catholic, and 6 percent as another Christian religion. This is about equal to the percentage that said they have no religious affiliation.

At 47 percent, religious unaffiliation for white working-class young adults was significantly higher than religious unaffiliation among 18- to 29-year-old Americans overall (36 percent).

White working-class millennials are more Republican than their elders… but less conservative

In general, young Americans tend to skew toward Democratic Party affiliation. But for the youth of the white working class, the Republican Party is way more popular than the Democratic, according to the PRRI/Atlantic report. More than half of young white working-class voters—57 percent—identify as Republican or at least lean toward the GOP, while just 29 percent identify as or lean toward Democrats

It’s no surprise that white working-class young folk might lean more Republican than their richer, non-white, or college-educated counterparts. But here’s a departure from conventional wisdom: The youngest adults of the white working class are more likely to lean Republican than the oldest members. In fact, 18- to 29-year-olds here lean more Republican than any other white working-class cohort studied.

For both seniors and those in the 50- to 64-year-old cohort, 51 percent identified as or leaned Republican and 36 percent identified as or leaned Democrat.

The older-millennial/younger-Gen X group—which included white working-class Americans ages 30 to 49—contained slightly fewer Republican Party voters than did the older generations (47 percent) and slightly fewer Democratic Party voters (34 percent). This group was the most likely to identify as politically independent, with 16 percent identifying as such. Just 10 percent of the younger group, 8 percent of those ages 50-64, and 9 percent of seniors in the report identify as political independents.

But while the youngest adults of the white working-class are more likely than their elders to describe themselves as Republican, they are less likely to consider themselves conservative. “White working-class young adults are less than half as likely as white working-class seniors to identify as conservative,” according to the report.

Less than a quarter—23 percent—of white working-class young people call themselves conservative, while 26 percent identify as liberal and 40 percent identify as moderate.

White working-class millennials don’t think Donald Trump gets it—but their parents love him.

Just 34 percent of the 18- to 29-year-old cohort in question agree that President Trump understands the problems facing their communities. Older members of the white working class are much more likely to endorse this statement, with 47 percent of the 30- to 49-year-old crowd and 46 percent of the majority-boomer group on board. Seniors, however, are more like young adults with regard to Trump here; just 38 percent say he understands their problems.

White working-class millennials lean less authoritarian than their older counterparts.

Nearly three-quarters of white working-class seniors score high for authoritarian orientation, compared to just 43 percent of 18- to 29-year-old working-class whites. This finding probably has something to do with the lower levels of religious affiliation found among younger working-class whites, as pollsters found “profound differences in the degree to which white working-class Americans prefer authoritarian traits by religious identity.” For instance, 82 percent of white working-class Protestants and 70 percent of white working-class Catholics were identified as having an authoritarian orientation, compared to just 39 percent of those with no religious affiliation.

Young working-class whites struggle more with alcohol and drug dependency.

Young working-class whites are much more likely than their senior counterparts to struggle with drug- or alcohol-dependency. Some 16 percent of the 18- to 29-year-olds say they personally struggle with alcoholism or excessive drinking, versus four percent of seniors. And 13 percent of the younger group says they struggle with drug abuse, versus 3 percent of seniors. The younger group was also more likely to say that someone in their household has struggled with depression (45 percent versus 22 percent).

Young working-class whites think things are getting better.

Asked whether America has changed for better or worse since the 1950s, most working class whites say worse (65 percent). But “there is a notable generational divide among white working-class Americans about the direction of the country since the mid-century mark,” the report notes. Just a little more than half (54 percent) of the younger group says America has changed for the worse, while 44 percent say it has gotten better. Only about one-third of working-class whites overall believe that things have gotten better.

Asked whether “things have changed so much” that they “often feel like a stranger” within the U.S., more than half of working class whites age 50 and above agreed but only 42 percent of those under 50 did.

Report methodology note from PRRI/The Atlantic: “The margin of error for the survey is +/- 2.1 percentage points at the 95% level of confidence. The survey included a subsample of 1,956 likely voters. The margin of error for the subsample of likely voters is +/- 2.6 percentage points at the 95% level of confidence.”

By Elizabeth Nolan Brown/Reason

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Maintaining American Imperialism May Help Explain James Comey’s Firing

In a very short amount of time, it’s become something of cliche to talk about Donald Trump’s firing of James Comey as the equivalent of Richard Nixon’s “Saturday Night Massacre,” when Nixon fired anyone at the Department of Justice unwilling to fire the Watergate independent prosecutor.

If that does turn out to be an apt analogy, it’s hardly surprising that this is happening in many respects.

The crimes of Watergate came out of the Vietnam War, though this is poorly understood. The Watergate “plumbers” were originally set up to plug the leaks about the Vietnam War.

And so, with the rise of the imperial presidency, it was hardly surprising that someone like Nixon would use the mechanisms of empire—the capacity for secrecy, surveillance and violence—for his own political purposes. Indeed, J. Edgar Hoover, atop the FBI, had been doing so for decades.

The late Watergate historian Stanley Kutler writes in his book “Abuse of Power” that Nixon railed to his aides about papers regarding the Vietnam War that he thought were at the then-liberal Brookings Institution.

“I want it implemented. … Goddamn it, get in and get those files. Blow the safe and get it.”

The documents Nixon apparently wanted to get hold of allegedly showed that Lyndon Johnson curtailed the bombing of Vietnam in 1968 to boost the Democrats’ election prospects of winning the election that year.

A great irony now is that the establishment Democrats are going after Trump in a number of personal ways, but collude in others, and indeed stiffen up his use of violence. When Trump uses military violence in Yemen or Syria, he is lauded as presidential by presumed liberals like Van Jones and Fareed Zakaria.

Johnson was thought to curtail bombing for political gain. Trump now gains politically when he engages in bombing.

The U.S. establishment seems to want an emperor who will go around the world spying on people and killing them as he sees fit, while ensuring he abides by legal niceties.

The obsessiveness over secrecy and the intense “principle-less” partisanship give us a situation where the political factions spew allegations to the public that are, at best, difficult to discern, even if you follow politics full-time, much less if you’re trying to hold down a regular honest job.

This leads to a political culture based on loving or hating various political figures, or just checking out of politics, which much of the political establishment may want for large sectors of the public.

The secrecy and the surveillance are sold to the public as necessary for their own protection, but the opposite is true. The little known Katharine Gun case highlights how the actual target of surveillance is frequently not “terrorism,” but the threat of peace.

So, the Trump administration’s ridiculous claims about the reasons for the Comey firing are fairly similar to the lying pretexts that U.S. officialdom used to justify the Iraq invasion. Empire is compatible with democracy only with a series of dehumanizing triple standards. It’s fine there, just don’t do it here.

After all, the main victims of the Iraq invasion were the Iraqi people, and they are off screen and the officials who inflicted horrors on them have all walked away nice and clear.

The mechanisms of empire are tolerated, until someone like Trump seems to be using them for his own personal ends.

In terms of Trump’s own crimes, he is quite impeachable on the domestic emoluments clause, but the establishment Democrats seem quite uninterested in pursuing that.

They have focused on his apparent ties to Russia. There may well be something there. Trump is a corrupt figure, and it’s well within his capacities to engage in a massive, if at times possibly buffoonish, cover-up. But it is incredibly dangerous that the establishment Democrats seem intent on risking escalations with the other major nuclear power on the planet so they can beat Trump over the head.

By Sam Husseini/Truthdig

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Will Sinclair Broadcast Group take on Fox News after buying Tribune Media in a $3.9-billion deal?

Sinnclair Broadcast Group Inc., the Baltimore-based company that has kept a low profile, will become a nationwide player with the planned acquisition of Tribune Media and its 42 TV stations, giving it a powerful platform to potentially launch a right-leaning programming service to rival Fox News.

The company, which already is the largest TV station group owner in the U.S. with 139 stations, has operated largely out of the media business fishbowl because it had no outlet in New York or Los Angeles.

Now, with the Tribune acquisition, Sinclair will have a footprint in most of the country’s major markets, spanning about a third of the nation’s households.

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Image : wgntv

Sinclair said Monday that it will acquire Tribune Media Co. for $3.9 billion plus the assumption of about $2.7 billion in debt. Tribune shareholders are to receive $35 in cash and 0.23 of a share of Sinclair common stock for each Tribune share; based on Tribune’s closing stock price Friday, that’s a total value of $43.50 a share.

WGN is Tribune’s flagship station, founded by the Chicago Tribune in 1948.

More from LA Times

Posted by Libergirl



Here Are the Campaign Promises Trump Breaks with His Health Care Plan

President Donald Trump gathers with congressional Republicans in the Rose Garden after the House passed the AHCA. May 4, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

President Donald Trump had a party yesterday in the White House Rose Garden — while cases of beer were wheeled into the Capitol Building — to celebrate the just-passed Republican health care bill through the House of Representatives. If this bill passes the Senate and is signed by President Trump, the core elements of the bill will create conditions in which 24 million fewer people will have health insurance by 2026 than under the Affordable Care Act, which is, for the time being, still the law of the land.

But it’s much worse than that: This will would allow states to let insurance companies refuse to cover maternity care, mental health care, coverage for substance abuse treatment, and many more basic functions of health insurance that people have been able to rely on since 2010. In addition, this bill will end the federal guarantee that health insurance companies cannot charge exorbitant premiums to people with pre-existing conditions, which includes everything from asthma and depression to pregnancy, cancer, and in a few states, most outrageously, conditions that result from sexual abuse. That’s right — under the bill the House Republicans passed yesterday, if you live in a state that opts out of these protections and need to buy health insurance, and you happen to be a rape survivor, insurance companies may be able to charge you more for health insurance than if you had not been a victim of this trauma.

This bill is the definition of putting the interests of the wealthy ahead of the most vulnerable members of society. Trumpcare would strip away health insurance from the poor, the sick, the elderly, and the disabled via $880 billion in cuts to Medicaid, in order to finance a tax cut north of a trillion dollars for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans.

Trumpcare is a violation of several of Trump’s key campaign promises. He promised to provide insurance for everyone, and that he would never cut Medicaid, Medicare, or Social Security, and no one who has coverage under the ACA would lose coverage under his plan. These are all lies. Trump savored his victory in the Rose Garden among a crowd of overwhelmingly middle-aged white men and was reportedly “radiant” for the rest of the day. Watching President Trump and House Republican celebrate passing a bill that would cut millions of people off of their health care to give a tax cut to the richest 2 percent will be a picture that we will all remember for a long time.

Jesus said, “I was sick and you didn’t come to see me.” The new health care bill shows how little its sponsors see the poor, the sick, the elderly, and the disabled whose health care is set to be stripped. They only see themselves and their fellow millionaires and billionaires who will reap the “rewards” of leaving the least of these to fend for themselves.

By Jim Wallis/SOJO

Posted by The NON-Conformist

The House Votes to Repeal Obamacare

Republicans overcame an embarrassing early failure to pass their replacement for the Affordable Care Act with few votes to spare. Now, they await the political fallout.

For House Republicans, the burden of an unfulfilled campaign promise had simply become too much to bear alone.

And so on Thursday, after an embarrassing early failure and weeks of fits and starts, a narrow GOP majority passed legislation to partially repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act that even many of its supporters conceded was deeply flawed. The party-line vote was 217-213, with 20 Republicans voting against. The bill now goes to the Senate, where its fate is uncertain at best.

The American Health Care Act scraps the Obamacare mandates that people buy health insurance and that employers provide it, eliminates most of its tax increases, cuts nearly $900 billion from Medicaid while curtailing the program’s expansion, and allows states to seek a waiver exempting them from the current law’s crucial prohibition against insurers charging higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions. Conservatives complained that the bill did not fully repeal the 2010 law, while moderates blanched at its cuts to Medicaid and its weakening of its most popular consumer protections.

But after a week of cajoling, last-minute amendments, and untold private assurances, President Trump, Speaker Paul Ryan, and their top lieutenants were able to persuade a vast majority of Republicans to sign on. The vote, politically risky though it was, revives the president’s legislative agenda after it appeared to stall in March.

“We’re going to get this passed through the Senate, I feel so confident,” an exultant Trump declared in a victory ceremony at the White House, as dozens of House Republicans stood behind him in the Rose Garden. In his characteristic style, the president described the bill in broad terms and devoted most of his comments to patting both himself and Republican congressional leaders on the back. “I think most importantly, yes, premiums will be coming down,” he said. “Yes, deductibles will be coming down. But very importantly, it’s a great plan, and ultimately that’s what it’s all about.”

Hardliners in the House Freedom Caucus, who had denounced the original version of the bill as “Obamacare-lite,” dropped their opposition after securing an amendment allowing states to opt out of key insurance mandates. Moderates and even some leadership loyalists balked, but they secured an 11th hour sweetener of their own: an extra $8 billion to help people with pre-existing conditions who might not be able to afford higher premiums that insurers could charge them in high-risk pools. The modest sum was no more than a political fig leaf, as policy analysts said it would not come close to making the new insurance pools work. But it gave some lawmakers who wanted to vote yes a reason to do so, and it won over enough holdouts to put the vote over the top.

Though they had barely enough time to read the revised bill, Republican House members voted on Thursday fully aware of the political peril that might await them. Progressive activists had jammed town-hall meetings much as Tea Party conservatives had done to Democratic lawmakers eight years ago. Supporters of Obamacare weaponized a finding by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office that the GOP bill would result in 24 million fewer people having health insurance after a decade. Premiums would spike in the first two years after enactment. And Democrats won even more ammunition for the 2018 midterms when Republican leaders rushed the revised measure to the floor without a final estimate from the CBO and barely half a day after the legislative text of last-minute amendments became public. “I would prefer to have it scored, but more than that I want it to pass,” a conservative convert to the AHCA, Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama, admitted to The Washington Post.

Democrats were at once rueful and gleeful. They denounced Republicans for voting to rip health insurance from millions by cutting Medicaid, and for breaking their repeated pledge to uphold protections for people with pre-existing conditions. “God have mercy on your soul,” Representative Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas declared on the House floor. “Make no mistake, people will die as a result of this bill,” said Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, the former Democratic Party chairwoman.

But they also recognized the potential of a political gift, readying attack ads against GOP lawmakers who voted to strip health benefits from their constituents in service of an unpopular president. Republicans won no cover from leading health-care industry groups, who opposed the bill en masse. A widely-cited Quinnipiac University poll in March found that just 17 percent of respondents backed its passage, and that was before Republicans amended the measure to allow states to weaken popular consumer protections. And by holding a vote after limited public hearings, back-room deals, and without fully understanding the impact of the bill, the GOP opened itself up to the same criticisms it leveled (falsely, in some cases) against Democrats in 2010.

“They have this vote tattooed on them. This is a scar they will carry,” warned House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who as speaker in 2010 shepherded the Affordable Care Act to passage. “Whatever happens down the road, the members of the House Republican caucus will be forever identified with the worst aspects of the bill they have passed.” As the vote ended on Thursday, Democrats waved to Republicans and chanted, “Nah nah nah nah, hey hey, goodbye.” It was a taunt Republicans tossed at Democrats back in 1993 when they voted for a tax increase until President Bill Clinton and saw their House majority disappear the next year.

Under intense pressure from the White House, Republicans cast their effort as a rescue effort to save Americans from a “collapsing” health-care law. They cited state after state in which insurers had pulled out of the individual market, leaving few choices and higher premiums for consumers. “This is a crisis, and it is happening,” Ryan said in an impassioned closing floor speech that drew cheers from Republicans. He called for lawmakers to “end this failed experiment” in health policy. “A lot of us have been waiting seven years to cast this vote.” As he wrapped up, Republicans chanted “Vote! Vote!” while Democrats shouted, “Where’s the score?” in reference to the missing budget projection. Meanwhile, Trump watched the vote from the White House, tweeting criticism at Democrats and preparing to welcome Republicans lawmakers for a celebratory press conference in the Rose Garden “if victorious.”

For House Republicans, the dozens of votes to repeal or roll back Obamacare they took over the years had been relatively easy, free of political or substantive consequences because the bills had no chance of becoming law. But this year was different. With control of Congress and Trump in the White House, they were, as more than one member acknowledged over the last several weeks, “shooting with live bullets.” (Their critics put it another way: They were “the dog that caught the car.”)

And yet, what pushed some reluctant members to vote yes in the final days was the growing realization that this bill, too, would not become law. Not as it is currently written. As many hurdles as the American Health Care Act has overcome among Republicans in the House, it faces even more among the considerably narrower GOP majority in the Senate, where party leaders must win over 50 out of the chambers 52 Republicans. Numerous senators have criticized aspects of the legislation, and shortly before the House vote on Thursday, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina warned that the bill should be “viewed with caution.” Afterwards, top senators said they would work on drafting their own legislation, suggesting that the House bill might not even see a vote in the upper chamber.

Conservatives and moderates alike said they based their votes at least in part on the assurance that the Senate would change the bill. “I have a little bit of faith—not a lot—but a little bit of faith that it’s actually going to improve in the Senate,” Representative Raul Labrador of Idaho, a member of the Freedom Caucus, told reporters on Wednesday. Labrador is relying on conservatives like Senators Rand Paul of Kentucky, Mike Lee of Utah, and Ted Cruz of Texas to push the AHCA to the right and to stretch the bounds of what Republicans can pass with a simple majority under the Senate’s budget reconciliation procedure.

Moderate Republicans, meanwhile, are betting that senators like Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Rob Portman of Ohio will ensure that some of the cuts to Medicaid are restored and protections for people with pre-existing conditions are strengthened. And that’s if the Senate can pass anything at all. Gone are the GOP’s earlier hope, voiced by party leaders in March, that the Senate would simply ratify what the House passed and send it on to Trump for his signature. Senators will now wait up to two weeks for CBO to review the House-passed bill, and then it could take several weeks to agree on revisions, or a new bill entirely, that would then either be sent back to the House or to a conference committee for more negotiations. “The Senate will now finish work on our bill, but will take the time to get it right,” said Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.

The repeal of Obamacare took a big step forward on Thursday, but it is by no means guaranteed.

With their votes, House Republicans are risking the possibility that they’ll have opened themselves up to political attacks for a bill that will die in the Senate. But the alternative, they determined, was just as bad. Failure to so much as vote on their core campaign promise had already humiliated the party, set back their agenda, and threatened to demoralize their conservative base. They needed to unload their burden, and on Thursday, with little margin to spare, they did. Repealing Obamacare is the Senate’s problem now.

By Russell Berman/TheAtlantic

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Why Obama’s Big Cash-In Matters

One of my little online entertainments this year has been to ask my social media network a question: “So, what’s Obama up to lately?”

I want to know, but I haven’t had the stomach to follow the man once he left the White House.

Truth be told, I burned out on Obama years ago.

I called him out as a corporate, neoliberal imperialist and a de facto white supremacist (as ironic as that might sound given his technical blackness) from the beginning of the nationwide “Obamas” phenomenon in the summer of 2004.

Empire’s New Clothes

From 2006 through 2011, I dedicated inordinate research and writing to the “BaRockstar.” Prior to his 2009 inauguration (an event I found likely once George W. Bush defeated John F. Kerry in 2004), I tried to warn progressives (and anyone else who would listen) about Obama’s coming presidential service to the rich and powerful, their global empire and the white majority’s desire to deny the continuing power of anti-black racism in the United States. I collected my warnings in a 2008 book that bore the deceptively neutral title “Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics.”

I continued to follow Obama closely. In 2010, my next book, “The Empire’s New Clothes: Barack Obama in the Real World of Power,” detailed his dutiful fealty to the nation’s “deep state” masters of capital and empire (and to white majority opinion on race) during his first year in the White House. This volume exhaustively refuted partisan Democrats who insisted that Obama really wanted to do progressive things but was prevented from that by a Republican Congress. It was a nonsensical claim. Year One Obama had just won the presidency with a great voter mandate for progressive change and had a Democratic Congress. He could have steered well to the wide left of his corporate-center-right trajectory if he’d wanted. But he didn’t want to, consistent with Adolph Reed Jr.’s dead-on description of Obama after the future president first won elected office in Illinois:

In Chicago, for instance, we’ve gotten a foretaste of the new breed of foundation-hatched black communitarian voices; one of them, a smooth Harvard lawyer with impeccable do-good credentials and vacuous-to-repressive neoliberal politics, has won a state senate seat on a base mainly in the liberal foundation and development worlds. His fundamentally bootstrap line was softened by a patina of the rhetoric of authentic community, talk about meeting in kitchens, small-scale solutions to social problems, and the predictable elevation of process over program—the point where identity politics converges with old-fashioned middle-class reform in favoring form over substance.

By acting in accord with Reed’s retrospectively haunting early description, the “deeply conservative” President Obama ironically helped create the very Republican “Tea Party” Congress his loyal liberal defenders were then able to cite as the excuse for his right-wing policymaking. Governing progressively in 2009 and 2010 would have been good politics for the Democrats. It might well have pre-empted the “Teapublican” victories of 2010.

You’ve Got to Meet Real Socialists

But that’s not what “Wall Street Barry” was about. He was a Hamilton Project, Robert Rubin-sponsored actor who never would have gotten the elite backing he needed to prevail had he been the peoples’ champion so many voters dreamed him to be.

Obama set new Wall Street election fundraising records for a reason in 2008. “It’s not always clear what Obama’s financial backers want,” Ken Silverstein noted in a fall 2006 Harper’s Magazine report titled “Obama, Inc.,” “but it seems safe to conclude that his campaign contributors are not interested merely in clean government and political reform. … On condition of anonymity, one Washington lobbyist I spoke with was willing to point out the obvious: that big donors would not be helping out Obama if they didn’t see him as a ‘player.’ The lobbyist added: ‘What’s the dollar value of a starry-eyed idealist?’ ”

After his 2012 re-election, Obama spoke at The Wall Street Journal CEO Council. “When you go to other countries,” Obama told the corporate chieftains, “the political divisions are so much more stark and wider. Here in America, the difference between Democrats and Republicans—we’re fighting inside the 40-yard lines. … People call me a socialist sometimes. But no, you’ve got to meet real socialists. [Laughter.] I’m talking about lowering the corporate tax rate. My health care reform is based on the private marketplace.”

It was what the socialist writer and activist Danny Katch called “a touching ruling class moment.”

The warm feelings made good capitalist sense. Fully 95 percent of the nation’s new income went to the top 1 percent during Obama’s first term. Obama won his second term partly by appropriating populist rhetoric from an Occupy Wall Street movement he’d helped dismantle with infiltration and force in the fall and winter of 2011. He did this after keeping Wall Street so comfortably bailed out and restored that plutocracy could reach the point where the top U.S. thousandth owned more wealth than the bottom U.S. 90 percent.

By Paul Street/Truthdig

Posted by The NON-Conformist