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Save the 1%!

The wealth gap between rich and poor is widening. However, so is the gap between the elite and the super-elite. That’s right folks – they’re getting screwed too! More than half the wealth in the top 1% is going to the top 0.1%.°

Save the top one percent!

Of course, one must continue to pay attention to the 99%. They need support by organizations for human rights, worker rights and involvement, tax justice, freedom of the press, charitable organizations.°° However, helping them is a drawn-out, hard struggle. One not only fights for the cause, but also for money to support it. In a way, you’re an activist and a salesman. Not easy.

Saving the top 1% has no such drawbacks. One must simply start by making sure they know how they’re getting screwed (they rarely do), and then aid them in fixing the mechanisms. Because it’s all part of the same system, the 99% will benefit. Many of the same tools are being used to rob both groups:

* Value-added tax (it’s regressive!)

* Bailouts (too-big-to-fail and straight bailouts “to save jobs”)

* Dumb-down media (can you believe that some of the top 1% I met over the holidays didn’t even know about TTIP?)

(Neither did hardly any of them know the German “aid” money to Greece was just new debt, to repay wealthy banks/hedge funds. It ping-ponged right back to Germany and France, mostly the super-elite, and whoever’s selling two submarines to the Greek army.)

* Tax-avoidance tricks. Ranging from tax havens to simple over-use of business-expense accounts: Business-class flights, or going out for meals that are more about eating than meeting.

* Totalitarian corporations. Today’s technology would be perfect for integrating workers better in decision-making, not to mention profits! Instead, we have global tyranny.

* A propos technology: more often than not, it was developed at public expense (universities), and then handed over to private power for profit (patents). Sometimes, the patents on new developments are even bought up for the sole purpose of preventing progress.

* So-called “free trade”, which isn’t free trade. Just because money is crossing borders, doesn’t mean it’s trade. And what’s “free” about it, is primarily the freedom of lobbyists and lawyers to influence legislation behind the scenes on behalf of their paymasters.

* So-called “globalization”, which really is just one specific kind of global integration. Geared to suit the neoliberal agenda. When Marx addressed “workers of the world”, he was advocating a different (bad?) kind of globalization.

* The very system by which money is created and how it is destroyed, see banks-need-boundaries.net

* Financialization of the economy. Most of the money used to be in the real economy, now it’s zooming around the globe to turn money into more money, and to kill unloved social policies by capital flight (veto of the Virtual Senate). The average time a stock was held used to be months, now it’s seconds. High-frequency trading and other nifty programs also means brain-drain: these people could be working on green technologies, cancer, you name it…

* The public relations industry geared towards the “manufacturing of consent” (Lippmann) for the top 0.1%’s short-term needs. (The long-term ones, such as air for their grandkids, are excluded!)

* Privatization, public-private “partnerships”, death of the commons, rise of gated communities.

All of these points involve/reinforce an upwards redistribution, the legitimacy of which must be challenged by those losers in the top 1%. HELP THEM HELP THEMSELVES 😉

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Some mechanisms that rob only the bottom 99% – need to be challenged, too:

* Scientific methods of strike-breaking – mobilizing the community against unions.

* The lottery. It’s a tax on mathematical incompetence and desperation – more widespread at the bottom.

* Fees, e.g. for public transport (anyway just to clear roads for limos and SUVs). All fees are a regressive tax!

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° Numbers taken from The Trillion Dollar Meltdown, one of the first books about the crisis, page 140. In this section of the book, Charles R. Morris goes on to debunk arguments used by conservative lobbies to deny that the wealth gap is widening. Mainly US-based, and using numbers from 1980 to 2005. My feeling is that if you’d include other countries and numbers until today, we’d see it’s getting worse rather than better. This has to do with the lackeys of the top 0.1% working to rig the system in their paymasters’ favour (often even against their own…they just hope to one day be part of it) – they’re also rigging the system by which the system can be altered. Basically continuing what the founding fathers did, setting up “checks and balances”.

°° But: “Donating money and then deducting it from taxes is just a way of bypassing the government and assuming its role for yourself.”

 

 

Paying fines with pre-tax money

Can banks deduct fines from taxes?

Last month, the Swiss government said “No” (SRF, German link).

Hope everyone gets the news!

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The main branch of ‘Banks need Boundaries’ is currently AAPC in Austria, dedicated to a kind of class-action to help victims of predatory lending and raise awareness about problems relating to modern money-creation. More info in German: www.kreditopferhilfe.net

NATO to Iraq?

It’s hard to believe this is ten years old.

 

What have we learned ?

 

http://archive.org/details/NoamChomsky-ColumbiaUniversity2004

 

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p.s. If one were to talk about NATO – how about discussing its ABOLITION? One of the great missed opportunities: seeing the Warsaw Pact collapse without dissolving its western twin sister 😦

TTIP ridicule

Our petition‘s final words: “institutions that are not democratically legitimized should be rejected.”

Today, negotiators return to discussing the terms of TTIP, the planned free-trade agreement between US and EU.

 

The country I live in, Switzerland, recently made such a deal with China. What this means is that Swiss industry gets to play footsie under the table with its Chinese counterparts, while everyone else must put their cards on the table.

 

Regularly, such agreements harm the people of both countries involved, and don’t even help ‘trade’ (but make it easier to shift stuff around between different branches of the same corporation).

 

Personally, I’d have liked to see some free trade when China was ready to export cheap solar cells in the wake of Fukushima. No chance – extra import tax, presumably thanks to effective lobby work we’ll never know about.

 

Instead, here’s some healing humour – click here to enjoy the video!

 

Sigmar Gabriel’s pompous reaction to the anti-TTIP petition is typical for anyone representing industry. As with MAI, if this thing is successfully smashed, it won’t be thanks to guys like him, but you and me! Thanks for sharing this lavishly on both sides of the Atlantic.

 

To be sure: Things aren’t perfect in Germany either. However, most of the scandals (poison in eggs, EHEC germs, undeclared horse meat in beef products) were illegal. TTIP and similar efforts usually want to fix the laws to make the shortcuts legal.

Banking separation

“The first step is to separate commercial and investment banks.” (from our petition)

Here’s a fun little clip that shows a glimpse of hope …or does it?

Click here to play video on youtube.

Deception 101

A quick media analysis from Switzerland.

Yesterday, our Italian* news at noon reported on a major bank “complying with too-big-to-fail laws”. It included the bank’s CEO using those exact words in a statement to the press: too big to fail.

However, those four infamous English words did not appear in the corresponding German-language news show.

That’s because they know the truth: the laws in question don’t solve ‘too big to fail’ – not even close!

‘Too big to fail’ ends when a bank can go bust without the public having to bail it out. What they are doing now is protecting themselves from US courts.

Quite a PR-trick: Instead of tackling the problem honestly, turn it into something else, and then solve that instead!

The difference: in its original meaning, ‘too big to fail’ describes a threat that BANKS pose to US. Now they’re trying to turn it into a threat from US (the public) to THEM.

UBS and CS cannot be sued out of existence like Wegelin; they can’t go bust like Lehman. In their present and anticipated forms, they are too big to fail, to big to jail, and any fines can still be passed right on to the taxpayer.

Until that changes, we really need to pay attention and keep our eye on the basics!

(Note that the term ‘taxpayer’ doesn’t include the banks themselves – UBS announced a cool billion of profits for the first quarter, for which it will be paying zero tax – but this is just a side issue, mind you, related to how we let banks and other corporations legally cook the books.)

Disclaimer: Remember that the banksters are not, technically, lying. The announced restructurings could allow investment subsidiaries die a quiet, natural death. But this doesn’t alter the main points we challenge: the banks’ power to create money, and the fact that they run our entire financial infrastructure, see How banks (don’t) work, and our petition for the objectives.

p.s.
If you can stomach it, please also remember to keep an eye on what’s going on with the OECD’s plans for automatic information exchange. On their website, and Switzerland’s national news channels, it all looks great. However, if you check out other sources, such as Tax Justice Network, well…lot more posts where this came from…

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* In case you didn’t already know, Switzerland is multi-lingual.

Oppression 101

On his spoken-word album “If Evolution is outlawed, only outlaws will survive” Jello Biafra speaks of a 30-hour week.

The context is our welfare system.

Chomsky points out that people are basically in favour of welfare, but don’t know it. Plus, people grossly overestimate how much government really spends on it.

Private profits are so massive, that we could easily share jobs, and receive the same income!

Unfortunately, the proponents of our system tend to view workers as a ‘resource’ that has to be ‘managed’.

Extra admin costs, extra benefits are a further barrier.

A “benefit” we’re rarely told about: it helps to keep that one worker in line, when he sees how his unemployed contemporaries are being punished.

Banks needs Boundaries supports regaining control of the the system, starting with money creation.

More on (un)employment at banks-need-boundaries.net

Quote

David Graeber

Although it’s already on our reading list, an extra ad for Graeber’s first 5,000 years.

…and a favorite quote, abridged & adapted (original @Graeber p. 488)

Some treat this as if it were news:
Poverty is caused by a lack of credit.
The industrious poor need access to loans from stable, respectable banks.

What about the non-industrious poor?

For me, this is exactly what’s so harmful about the morality of debt: reduce us all to eyeing the world simply for what can be turned into money – and then tell us that it’s only pillagers who deserve to pursue anything in life other than money.

The argument might perhaps make sense if one agreed that work is by definition virtuous. However, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that continuing as now, we’re likely to destroy everything!

The real question now is how to ratchet things down a bit …live more by working less!

Let’s hear it for the non-industrious poor. Who are they really hurting? Insofar as they spend time with friends and family, enjoying and caring for those they love, they’re probably improving the world more than we acknowledge. Maybe we should think of them as pioneers of a new economic order that would not share our current one’s penchant for self-destruction.

(end of mutilated quote)

Here’s the juicy bit tweeted @zuvielisation
a good word for the non-industrious poor …think of them as pioneers of a new order without our current one’s penchant for self-destruction

Thanks for reading. Remember, you “paid” for this post by reading an ad someone had wordpress place below my ramblings – in other words: it’s a form of human trafficking! “Selling audiences to advertisers.” Producing the ad on your screen costs electricity, time, and other resources. Invoices sent up the food chain are tax-deductible, i.e. we all chip in.

We could change this by producing and sharing information in a smarter fashion.

Please also consider “paying” us by studying our petition, and list of solutions – thanks!

FT break!

“Printing counterfeit banknotes is illegal, but creating private money is not. The interdependence between the state and the businesses that can do this is the source of much of the instability of our economies. It could – and should – be terminated.”

Read more at FT (!)

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/7f000b18-ca44-11e3-bb92-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2zpCVXoKF

Light bulb conspiracy

Not only is the current economic system highly un-economical (i.e. wasteful), it’s also largely built on deceit – FROM DAY ONE!

This feature-length documentary deserves our utmost attention.
http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/light-bulb-conspiracy/

It covers most of the vital problems we face, and many solutions!

Note the mentioning of credit as one of the cornerstones of the big machine.

And remember to pause the film when Henry Ford is mentioned to read our favourite quote of his!

Due to the prevalence of silicone (semi-conductors and breast augmentation) in today’s culture, some people have suggested we call this the ‘silicone age’. Personally, I always gravitated more towards calling it the ‘silly con age’.

You be the judge – enjoy the film!