Paul Craig Roberts
I have come to the conclusion that collectively Americans are mentally and emotionally stupid. On any given day there is endless evidence that this is the case. Just a few selections from news of the last couple of days should suffice to establish the point.
Instead of reforming police training as a rational response to George Floyd’s death from an aggressive restraint technique, the Minneapolis city council voted to disband the Minneapolis police. Council woman Lisa Bender responded to a citizen’s question what she is supposed to do if she faces a threat in her home and there are no police to call: “Yes,
I hear that loud and clear from a lot of my neighbors. And I know — and myself, too, and I know that that comes from a place of privilege.”
In other words, the Minneapolis citizen’s concern is not legitimate
and merely reflects her privileged assumption that she is entitled to
protection by police. The valid concern is to protect blacks from the police by disbanding the police.
Not even editors at the New York Times, which grovels at the feet of blacks and self-righteous woke, can survive their exercise of freedom of
the press—https://www.rt.com/usa/491143-nytimes-oped-editor-resigns-cotton/. The opinion editor and his deputy had to resign for publishing Senator Tom Cotton’s call to deploy the military to protect people and property from the rioters and looters.
The US armed forces are a hodgepod of men, women, lesbians, homosexuals, a racial medley, and every element in it has been instructed by Identity Politics to hate and distrust the other. Armies devoid of the homogeneity that gives unity are useless. Only a fool would put an American or any European army against Russia and China. What will be our fate if the aggressive bombast that the neoconservatives and fellow travelers such as Liz Cheney —https://www.newsmax.com/politics/liz-cheney-germany-troops-withdrawal/2020/06/06/id/970894/?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=mixi&utm_campaign=newsmax —keep pumping out of Washington results in concerted Russian/Chinese action against the threat that the West is determined to portray itself to be?
But that’s not the only way that poor people are victimized by big government.
In a column for the New York Times, Professor Bernadette Atahuene of the Chicago-Kent College of Law opines on the problem of greedy local governments.
I coined the term “predatory cities” to describe urban areas where public officials systematically take property from residents and transfer it to public coffers… Ferguson, Mo., is one well-known predatory city.
As a 2015 Department of Justice report showed, the police in Ferguson systematically targeted African-Americans and subjected them to excessive fines and fees. …local courts issued arrest warrants for unpaid fines and fees… Minor offenses, like parking infractions, resulted in jail time… The Ferguson Police Department and courts prioritized revenue raising over public safety, transforming Ferguson into a predatory city.
Professor Atahuene cites the pernicious policies of New Orleans and Washington, D.C. (and note that asset forfeiture is one of the problems).
New Orleans is another. …Orleans Parish Criminal District Court’s primary source of funding was the fines and fees it collected. This created a structural incentive for judges to aggressively and erroneously pursue payment from those with no ability to pay, turning New Orleans into a predatory city. Washington, D.C., is yet another predatory city. While civil asset forfeiture laws allow the police to seize property that they suspect was involved in a crime, in Washington, D.C., property owners had to post bonds of up to $2,500 in order to challenge the seizure. If the owner could not raise money in time, the D.C. Police Department sold the property, and the money went into its annual budget. In a two-year period, the Police Department made $4.8 million in profit by seizing money from over 8,500 people as well as seizing 339 vehicles.
Every decent human being should get upset about the grotesque way that politicians are mistreating their residents.
Especially since poor people are being disproportionately victimized.
By the way, it appears that Professor Atahuene is not a libertarian. She wants Congress to approve a big bailout, based on the theory that state and local politicians will be less likely to engage in what I’ve called “rapacious revenue-raising tactics” if they get big buckets of money from Uncle Sam.
Needless to say, I think that would be a mistake.
But I don’t think someone needs to agree with me on everything, or even most things, if we can periodically find common ground on proposals that would improve the lives of people (not just on the need to curtail greedy local governments, but also on issues such as over-criminalization and police unions).
P.S. I wonder if there would be fewer petty fines, fees, and charges if they were levied on the ability to pay, thus making higher-income people more sensitive to the problem?
Comment by tonytran2015: Rob the poor to pay the rich, Australian way ( https://survivaltricks.wordpress.com/2020/06/04/rob-the-poor-to-pay-the-rich-australian-way/).
Americans have an aversion to socialism. But actually, we have the most liberal socialism imaginable — for large corporations
By Sameer Butt
June 09, 2020 “Information Clearing House” – Last week, a record 10 million people filed for unemployment in the US. This number will only grow in the coming weeks. To add insult to injury, given this trend, Covid-19 will have 10 times as many financial casualties as the projected worst-case-scenario medical casualties.
I used to work as a trader on Wall Street many years ago. Now I am a small business owner who owns a film production company. I am fortunate because I have done well enough where I will make it through this crisis relatively better than most. Many of the people I work with, including many of my clients, will not.
One way to address this problem would be to nationalize payroll until the crisis passes. Under such a program, everyone would continue to get their take-home pay, only instead of their employer making the payments, the government would. This way people could maintain their lives without additional financial stress and employers would not have to worry about making payroll while their businesses are shut.
This would alleviate a lot of pressure all around — which would be good for people, society and, in the long run, the economy. With everything effectively shuttered, people might even be able to save some money. Landlords and property owners would not need bailouts or assistance with unpaid mortgages or rents. Small business owners like myself, if we chose to take advantage of the new loans, could actually use the money to rebuild or grow our businesses, instead of trying to just survive the crisis.
Self-employed individuals, freelancers and gig economy workers would get weekly payments based on their average annual income for the past three years. Those individuals who were already unemployed at the time the crisis hit would get their unemployment benefits extended indefinitely. People who retired last year and rely on distributions from their retirement portfolios should get their social security benefits increased so they don’t have to deplete their retirement accounts while the market is down and even the most prudently invested and diversified portfolios are suffering.
Essential economic engines would keep running. As odiously evil as they are, even student loan payments need not be stopped, so usurious debtors can continue to make money. Denmark, Sweden, the Czech Republic, South Korea and Belgium, among several others, all have similar programs. Even the UK is paying 80 per cent of people’s wages if they’ve been furloughed, …
The transition would be relatively easy and potentially immediate. Employees would continue to get their paychecks as usual. Only instead of the employers, payroll accounts would be replenished by the federal government.
Instead, Americans are being forced to settle for the promise of a one-time maximum pay-off of up to $1200, which will neither help nor find its way to many people.
The combined total personal income in the US for 2019 was about $18 trillion or $1.5 trillion per month. This is the sum total of all declared income from everyone, whether employed, self-employed, freelance, full-time, part-time or anything in between. $18 trillion is eighteen thousand billion. For perspective, if you had $1 billion sitting in a drawer— just sitting, and not invested or growing— you could take out $100,000 every day for more than 27 years before that drawer was empty. Go ahead, do the math on your phone. Now imagine 18,000 such drawers. That’s how much money Americans took home last year.
The recent Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security — or CARES — Act, recently signed into law is a one-time $2.2 trillion stimulus package. The bill was haphazardly put together and complex disbursement logistics are far from figured out. According to the bill, $560 billion has been earmarked for individuals. But consider this: if the government just handed over $1200 to every man, woman, and child in America, it would cost taxpayers less than $400 billion dollars.
The actual amount that will be handed out is a fraction of that. There are convoluted processes that determine who gets what, or how money is disbursed. While many individuals can get a one-time payment of up to $1200 for each adult and $500 for each child based on their 2019 tax filing, many more are summarily excluded. Anyone who is divorced and sharing custody but not the taxpaying parent is excluded from the child payment. Recently divorced parents have to wait for their $500 until next year, when they file their taxes for 2020. The same is true for anyone who had a baby this year.
Parents with children over 16 and away at college are excluded. Disabled dependents — for example, children over 16 with autism or any other mental or physical disability — are excluded. Senior citizens who are claimed as dependents by their adult children are excluded. Gig economy workers and freelancers — like videographers, sound recordists, plumbers — are effectively excluded. Anyone who made over $75,000 last year— which barely enables a modest life in New York — is excluded. Supposedly there are loans available to some of them and small business owners like myself. The process for applying varies from state to state. The eligibility requirements are confusing and the websites don’t work. For those who qualify, it still means emerging from the crisis saddled with additional debt payments, with a business that will have to be rebuilt in a depressed economy and many millions unemployed.
… Regardless of where one stands on the political spectrum, in the long run, this bipartisan CARES Act is a carelessly drafted piece of no-strings-attached, reverse Robin Hood legislation that will be great for big corporations at the expense of individual taxpayers and small business owners.
Americans have a preternatural aversion to socialism. Except we have the most liberal socialism imaginable. It’s just not for the average citizen. It is for multi-billion dollar, faceless corporations.
Sameer Butt is a former Wall Street trader and Daily Show correspondent who now owns a film company. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @SameerNYC – – “Source“
The NOBODY CARES Act handed trillions in funds or tax breaks to oil companies, the airline industry, which alone got $50 billion in stimulus money, the cruise ship industry, a $170 billion windfall for the real estate industry, private equity firms, lobbying groups, whose political action committees gave $191 million in campaign contributions to politicians in the last two decades, the meat industry and corporations that have moved offshore to avoid U.S. taxes.
The act allowed the largest corporations to gobble up money that was supposed to go to keep small businesses solvent to pay workers. It gave 80 percent of tax breaks under the stimulus package to millionaires and allowed the wealthiest to get stimulus checks that average $1.7 million. The CARES Act also authorized $454 billion for the Treasury Department’s Exchange Stabilization Fund, a massive slush fund doled out by Trump cronies to corporations that, when leveraged 10 to 1, can be used to create a staggering $4.5 trillion in assets.
The act authorized the Fed to give $1.5 trillion in loans to Wall Street, which no one expects will ever be paid back. American billionaires have gotten $434 billion richer since the pandemic. Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, whose corporation Amazon paid no federal taxes last year, alone added $34.6 billion to his personal wealth hoard since the pandemic started.
How long can you expect people to watch their children go hungry? How long can you expect people to watch their loved ones suffer and die because they can’t get medical care? How long can you expect people to be abused by lawless police and a court system designed to railroad the poor into jails and prisons? How long can you watch the rich profit from your misery?
Rob the poor to pay the rich, Australian way.
Anyone who renovates his kitchen or bathroom to the value of 150,000 AUD will be able to buy a solid gold toilet seat worth up to 25,000AUD with an Australian government’s grant. Conditions apply.
1/- The house to be renovated must be worth less than 1,500,000AUD.
2/- The owners must earn less than 125000 AUD/year if a being sole owner or 200000 AUD/year if couple (LGBT or not).
3/- All materials and labour must be provided by licensed, registered builders.
Please see reference  for additional minor conditions.
to the Housing Industry Association (HIA), the average cost of a bathroom renovation in 2018-19 was $19,553, while a new kitchen would set the average household back $26,280.
Even combined, those projects wouldn’t cost half of what the Government is encouraging renovators to spend.
But the HIA’s Graham Wolfe said many renovations would be large enough to qualify.
… Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese suggested that to meet the criteria, a bathroom renovation would require a “gold bath and pearl taps”.
“There aren’t too many battlers out there who have a lazy $150,000, who will
see this announcement today and say, ‘I’m going to go between now and
December 31 and sign a contract for a project which is worth more than
$150,000’,” he said.
From my own perspective, I have certainly found it extremely difficult to get elderly patients admitted to hospital. I recently managed with one old chap who was found to have sepsis, not Covid-19. Had he died in the care home; he would almost certainly have been diagnosed as “dying of Covid.”
The bottom line here is that, if we do not diagnose deaths accurately, we will never know how many died of Covid-19, or ‘because of’ the lockdown. Those supporting lockdown, and advising governments, can point to how deadly Covid was, and say we were right to do what we did. When it may have been that lockdown itself was just as deadly. Directing care away from everything else, to deal with a single condition. Keeping sick, ill, vulnerable people away from hospitals.
The other reason why having accurate statistics is vitally important is in planning for the future. We have to accurately know what happened this time, in order to plan for the next pandemic, which seems almost inevitable as the world grows more crowded. What are the benefits of lockdown, what are the harms? What should we do next time a deadly virus strikes?
If Covid-19 killed 30,000, and lockdown killed the other 30,000, then the lockdown was a complete and utter waste of time. And should never happen again. The great fear is that this would be a message this government does not want to hear – so they will do everything possible not to hear it.
Comment by tonytran2015: By denying participation from Taiwan, a nation with sizable population and area and recent pandemic success, WHO has become obviously more political than medical. Why should USA fund a political organization aligning with its Chinese opponent?
By Steve Holland, Michelle Nichols
WASHINGTON/UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday said he is terminating the U.S. relationship with the World Health Organization over its handling of the coronavirus, saying the WHO had essentially become a puppet organization of China.
RECENT STORIES IN LATEST NEWS
Appearing in the White House Rose Garden, Trump went ahead with repeated threats to eliminate American funding for the group, which amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars a year.
Trump said the WHO had failed to make reforms to the organization that the president had demanded earlier this month. He said Chinese officials “ignored their reporting obligations” about the virus to the WHO and pressured the WHO to “mislead the world” when the virus was first discovered by Chinese authorities.
“China has total control over the World Health Organization despite only paying $40 million per year compared to what the United States has been paying which is approximately $450 million a year. We have detailed the reforms that it must make and engaged with them directly but they have refused to act,” said Trump.
“Because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms, we will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization and redirecting those funds to other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs,” he said.
When Republicans failed to deliver for the American people and lost their majority in the United States House of Representatives in 2018, a true poison was unleashed on the nation. For a second time, Nancy Pelosi became U.S. Speaker of the House and in her latest stint in this position she has been incredibly damaging to this country.
For months, she pursued a divisive and unnecessary impeachment of President Donald Trump. Instead of working to fight the coronavirus in January and February, congressional Democrats were only focused on impeaching and convicting President Trump. The Ukraine hoax which led to the flimsy impeachment charges was as ridiculous as the Russia hoax, but it did not matter to Democrats inflicted with Trump Derangement Syndrome.
Pelosi’s Partisan Agenda
As the impossible dream was nearing an end, Pelosi, in an act of partisan rage, tore up the President’s State of the Union speech, the most disrespectful behavior ever displayed by a U.S. Speaker of the House on national television.
Since that time, Pelosi and the Democrats have been working non-stop to blame the President for an “almost sinful” response to the coronavirus, while pushing dangerous legislation to financially ruin the country.
Instead of joining the President in affixing blame on Communist China for the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, Pelosi calls it “an interesting diversion.” She blames the President of the United States for acting too slowly in protecting Americans, even though he instituted the travel ban from China that saved the lives of countless Americans. Democrats did not support the travel ban but called it “racist” and “xenophobic.”
Comment by tonytran2015: US’ GDP is $21000 b (Wikipedia).
The legislation aims to get more money into the pockets of Americans hard-hit by widespread business closures. Eligible individuals would receive $1,200 checks for each person in their household, up to $6,000.
The bill extends add-on unemployment benefits of $600 payments, in addition to state benefits, through January 2021, creates a special enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act exchanges for the uninsured and provides $175 billion for families to pay their mortgages and rent. The legislation includes student loan forgiveness, an employee retention tax credit and increases maximum SNAP benefits, which are currently $768 a month, by 15 percent.
But tucked into the legislation are provisions that rankled the Republicans including expanding $1,200 checks to certain undocumented immigrants, restoring the full State and Local Tax Deduction (SALT) that helps individuals in high-taxed blue states, a $25 billion rescue for the U.S. Postal Service, allowing legal marijuana businesses to access banking services and early voting and vote-by-mail provisions.
“So much of what’s in this bill simply has nothing at all to do with the current crisis,” said Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla. “It’s more like a liberal Christmas … wish list. It would make more sense … to just send it straight to Santa Claus than to send it to the United States Senate. It would have a better chance of becoming law that way.”
THE NEW YORK TIMES and its disreputable cohort The Washington Post, which once were great newspapers, now publish slanted or outright fake news about the president on a daily basis due to their Woke, transgendered and intersectional staffs, so let’s look elsewhere for honest reporting and opinion.
- Let’s start with the New York Post and a piece titled, “No, ObamaGate is not a conspiracy theory.”The Obama White House conspired against the incoming Trump administration in what, one prays, are indictable offenses against both Obama and Sleepy Joe too. Stay tuned. Investigations are thundering down the highway.
- Trump on Friday named a team to “develop a coronavirus vaccine at warp speed.” See the details at Politico’s website. The news was announced Friday at a White House news conference.
- Nancy Pelosi, she of the dark heart, set a House vote on more coronavirus “relief” legislation. The $3 trillion (!) legislative package was written entirely by Democrats and, yet again, is crammed with pork that has squat to do with the current crisis. Again, the New York Post has this information that you will not find in the corrupt, gray, old ladies of “journalism” I mentioned in the first paragraph. And during the vote on the pork bill, Democrats opted to make illegal aliens eligible for taxpayer-funded “stimulus” payments. Dear Lord.
- Trump unveiled the new Space Force flag in the White House today. The Space Force will be a sixth branch of the U.S. military. MAGA marches on.