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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Review of Salon Article "5 Billionaires Who are Making Life Miserable for Ordinary Americans"

I started reading the Article "5 Billionaires Who are Making Life Miserable for Ordinary Americans," by Dave Johnson from Alternet, and I thought I'd see the usual suspects. But from the looks of it there are a lot more than 5 billionaires trying to turn the USA into an Oligarchy. His article points to 5 people who are not the Walton's or the Koch Brothers. The article demonstrates that we have hundreds of Billionaires whose idea of our Republic is an oligarchic Republic. It looks like Billionaire Tom Perkins is speaking for his fellow Billionaires!:

“The Tom Perkins system is: You don’t get to vote unless you pay a dollar of taxes,” Perkins said. “But what I really think is, it should be like a corporation. You pay a million dollars in taxes, you get a million votes. How’s that?”

And it seems like these Billionaires are working to make this a reality. The list of Miscreants in the Salon Article are:

1) Pete Peterson
2) John D. Arnold
3) Charles Munger Jr.
4) Tom Perkins
5) Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt and others

There are a lot more than 5 persons. It seems like venal and perverse billionaires have become legion. Hundreds? They seem to be in every State of the Union, and their gatherings with the Koch Brothers or the other factions are chauffeured events; usually secret. It's no wonder our Democracy is in trouble. They seem to have taken the Powell memo as a declaration of war on the USA. Essentially they are running their own revolution. The Salon Article gives detail on only 5 of them, but it has links to more information. So when we talk of the Koch's takeover, we are really talking about a group of sometimes aligned oligarchs pushing different issues for self aggrandizement using politics to buy power and influence.

Here are some highlights for those who might not click on the link:

1) Pete Peterson’s deficit/debt scare campaign and his ongoing effort to gut Social Security and other entitlements.

Pete Peterson is the pointman on the effort to privateer and eliminate social security:

"Leading every list of billionaires pushing an issue is billionaire Pete Peterson and his forever war on government doing things to make our lives better, especially Social Security. Peterson leads the list because of reports of his pledge to spend $1 billion on his pet issue."

And that is one billion this year. Think of it! The Koch's have pledged to spend a billion electing candidates across the country who reflect the beliefs of this group. But you can better believe that Pete Peterson's ads will coordinate with those of the Kochs and the others. They all share hostility to the idea of democracy. They really are disciples of Tom Perkins. The article continues:

"Have you ever heard anywhere that the budget deficit and national debt are a problem? You can’t pick up a newspaper or magazine, turn on the radio or TV, or listen to any politician from the so-called “center” to the far right without hearing that, and the reason is Pete Peterson and his money."

The Salon Article includes a video of Pete Peterson in video:

But what Pete Peterson is running a hoax. Social Security's only threat is from Pete Peterson.

Some of the front groups in the Pete Peterson list is;

"Peterson and his money are a big part of the backing for the
"Concord Coalition,
"Fix the Debt,
"The Can Kicks Back,"
the Comeback America Initiative,
the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget,
the Moment of Truth Project,
the Committee for Economic Development,
America Speaks plus contributions to many other groups."

And the article notes:

"As Michael Hiltzik worded it in Unmasking the most influential billionaire in U.S. politics at the LA Times, “The shame of Washington… comes from the fact that almost every organization promoting the grand fiscal bargain in which those programs will be on the table has accepted, somewhere and somehow, money from Pete Peterson.”

At least Pete Peterson doesn't hide his numerous front groups like Koch brothers and their "kochtopolis". His looks more like a pyramid: and

And Source Watch

Our Real Problem is in the Trade Deficit and War Mongering

Meanwhile our real debt problem is in our trade deficit and war-mongering. As the Salon Article also notes:

"Meanwhile the country’s real deficit problem is our trade deficit, especially with China. The trade deficit is the measure of jobs and factories moving out of the country. Fixing this deficit just happens to create jobs, lift wages and repair our economy."
"If you are hearing about how terrible the budget deficit is and how it is so important that we all make sacrifices in order to bring that deficit down, it’s Pete Peterson ‘s money talking. Too bad there is no billionaire pushing us to fix the trade deficit."

Too bad they are all exploiting it using Wall Street Arbitrage tricks and offshoring.


Public Pensions


2) Billionaire John D. Arnold’s attack on public-employee pensions.

If the Kochs are point people for stealing elections and the Tea Party/GOP takeover of State after state, and Pete Peterson is the point man on cutting Public Pensions, John D. Arnold runs point on the Far Right's attacks on the pension system. They've already systematically looted private, University and public pensions across the country but it seems Arnold sees his mission as to end the rest. David Sirota has done work on this one. "David Sirota showed how the Pew Charitable Trusts was working in partnership with (and funded by) Arnold." The findings in Sirota’s report included this:

"Finding: Conservative activists are manufacturing the perception of a public pension crisis in order to both slash modest retiree benefits and preserve expensive corporate subsidies and tax breaks."

The primary source for the money and movement on this is Arnold.

"David Sirota showed how the Pew Charitable Trusts was working in partnership with (and funded by) Arnold. The findings in Sirota’s report can be read at this link "Plot against Pensions" []

So if you were expecting a pension from your police or fire job. If that gets done away with you can thank John D. Arnold. Remember that name, friends, especially if you are in law enforcement.

They are attacking every single source of information and influence in the country. Even Sesame Street!

The Wolf of Sesame Street: []
And more about PBS under John D. Arnold's influence:

As Dave Johnson notes:

“These corporate/conservative organizations are very good at manipulating the media and public opinion — it is their purpose. Their “experts” are well paid and always available to talk to reporters, appear on TV and radio shows and write articles and opinion pieces for newspapers, blogs and for their network of similar organizations. Their “reports’ and “studies” reach the conclusions that fit the strategy, and are crafted to sound just right. And there are so many of them! The result is development of “conventional wisdom” about what is going on in our society. This is why that conventional wisdom more and more reflects the corporate/conservative line.” [Also: discover-the-network-out-to...]

3) Charles Munger Jr. (near-billionaire and son of a billionaire) wants to control California

I hadn't heard of Munger (He's mostly California's problem). I think that Dave profiled him because he's typical of those billionaires who are based in their home cities and have a perverse loyalty to the GOP and country club of those places. There are a lot of local politically active billionaires whose focus is more local politics, like Munger.


4) Perkins -- see above


What Matters about Perkins is that his statement might have sounded like a Joke, but when you take these billionaires in tandem it's not funny anymore. Indeed they could be cutting their own throats in the long run. David quotes Igor Volsky from Think Progress:

“The nation’s growing gap between the rich and poor has become a full-blown crisis, with the top 1 percent of families experienced a 278 percent increase in their real after-tax income from 1979 to 2007, while families in the middle 60 percent saw an increase of less than 40 percent. A large body of research suggests that high inequality leads to lower levels of representative democracy and a higher probability of revolution, as poorer citizens become convinced that the government is only serving and representing the interests of the rich." []

Another recent study showed that our elected officials pretty much ignore public opinion. What they do pay attention to are campaign donations. And the poor can't donate anything so the strategy of the rich is to eliminate the middle class that the features of Democracy depend on. Perkins is "already getting what he wants." And we arent':

“The preferences of the average American appear to have only a miniscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.”"

And the reason is that politicians do as their campaign donors do. And the country does as the media tells them to do. And the media is influenced (if not outright slaves to) these billionaires and those citizens who pay them. For a few hundred bucks a local crook can buy a politician. For a few billion our billionaires have decided to buy out the country.

5) And then there are the Supposedly Liberal Silicon Valley boys

Then there are Silicon Valley billionaires Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt and others pushing low wages for people who work for them. This one frosts me because I worked "figuratively" in the extended silicon valley and the Government heavily subsidized it's creation. Then the moguls who took advantage of Wall Street money to monopolize key pieces of software and connectivity started working on us. Pensions? We never had them. We had 401K's and IRAs, and initial promises of employer matching that were never kept. And now these folks have the stones to go to Congress and say they have to hire abroad rather than tap into the pool of unemployed software engineers and skill in this country. It's a transparent effort to enslave all of us. And taken together, it's pretty clear we are fighting oligarchy.

And this article didn't even include the Koch Brothers, Adelson or the legions of other folks in Florida and Nevada, Chicago and New York -- and scattered throughout the country, who are pursuing similar agendas.

Further Reading
The Wolf of Sesame Street: []
Dave Walker is a Pete Peterson Shill on Video:

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