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11.16 How pesticide bans can prevent tens of thousands of suicides a year [how many thousands more die early from eating pesticide-laced food?]

11.15  The long read:  The plastic backlash: what's behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference? [the world wants to throw-up...]

11.15 Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change [workers are waking-up...]

11.15 Trump administration to cut air pollution from heavy-duty trucks

11.14 Backed by Ocasio-Cortez, Youth Climate Activists Arrested in Pelosi's Office Demanding Democrats Embrace 'Green New Deal'

11.13 What would a smog-free city look like?

11.13 Global report highlights Australia’s renewables potential amid mixed signals for coal

11.13 Interior department whistleblower: Ryan Zinke hollowed out the agency

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11.12 Planned Parenthood's new president warns of 'state of emergency' for women's health

11.11 Trump responds to worst fires in California’s history by threatening to withhold federal aid [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.11 Interior department sued for ‘secretive process’ in at-risk species assessment [behaving ignorantly again...]

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11.17 As Energy for Medicare for All Explodes, Steny Hoyer's Plan Includes Waiting for Trump to Help Make Obamacare Better [Another who is unfit to be Democrat leader]

11.17 'A Staggeringly Bad Idea': Outrage as Pelosi Pushes Tax Rule That Would 'Kneecap the Progressive Agenda' [Unfit to be Democrat leader]

11.17 Trump Is Starting to Panic

11.16 As 'Green New Deal' Demand Grows, Democrats Have Choice: Confront and Defeat Fossil Fuel Industry or Take Credit for 'Doomed' Planet [Two choices: Save life-on-Earth or help Republicans let it die?]

11.16 Trump’s latest interview shows a president who’s in way over his head

11.16 Why the political fight in Georgia is far from over

11.16 Florida judge sides with Democrats, giving thousands a second chance to fix their ballots

11.15 Democrats Won Big. Can They Go Bold, Too? [it's about suppressing the influence and leadership by Republican-like Democrats who counsel 'íncremental' (no) change, such as Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Shumer and Joe Biden]

11.15 Pentagon Officials Forced to Make Fewer Public Appearances to Avoid Provoking Trump [...by revealing Trump's huuuge ignorance]

11.15 REPUBLICANS USED A BILL ABOUT WOLVES TO AVOID A VOTE ON YEMEN WAR [if there are 'defense industry' profits to be made—including congress-critter insider-trading—and political 'donations' to be had, we mustn't stop killing innocent civilians!]

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11.16 Amazon’s HQ2 Will Get a Tax Break Designed to Help the Poor [a Republican program that directly helps participating wealthy companies—but only helps workers if and when 'trickle-down' occurs.]

11.16 Trump doesn’t want to punish Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi. His new sanctions prove it. [George W. Bush made a similar immoral decision for the same oily reasons after 9-11, protecting Saudi defense contracts while facilitating the slaughter of poorer Arab "terrorists" in the region.]

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11.17 Saudi crown prince's 'fit' delays UN resolution on war in Yemen

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11.17 Policies of China, Russia and Canada threaten 5C climate change, study finds [Climate catastrophe is increasingly likely without worldwide organization, funding and commitment to winning THE WAR AGAINST GLOBAL WARMING.]

11.17 CIA finds Saudi crown prince ordered Jamal Khashoggi killing – report

11.15 Cuba to pull doctors out of Brazil after President-elect Bolsonaro comments [terms must be negotiated for fairness to Cuba's health professionals without disruption of healthcare for Brazil's poor]

11.14 'Appalling' Khashoggi audio shocked Saudi intelligence – Erdogan [Exposing a psychopath?]

11.14 Israel and Hamas launch hundreds of attacks in Gaza clash

11.14 Mueller seeking more details on Nigel Farage, key Russia inquiry target says

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  Print view: The Dictatorship of America's Aristocracy
COMMENTARY:

The Dictatorship of America's Aristocracy

by Stephen Lendman
Saturday, 11 December 2010
Obama's sweetheart deal to America's aristocracy is his latest sellout - abandoning popular needs, disdaining ordinary workers, showing allegiance solely to big monied interests he hopes will reward him with another four years.

Obama's capitulation to Republicans on Bush era tax cuts and other lavish benefit extensions to wealthy Americans with taxable income over $250,000 annually is the latest example of American Aristocracy's power over Congress, the courts, and president under both parties. Obama serves them loyally, sacrificing working class needs for society's rich while assuring unrestrained corporate profit-making.

Feigning concern for American workers, Obama spoke of "tough choices....to secure our future and our children's future and our grandchildren's future" by class warfare against middle and low income people he disdains.

Two earlier articles explained:

Obama Capitulates to Republicans
More on Obama's Capitulation and Betrayal

On December 9, House Democrats objected, at least rhetorically, its caucus casting a symbolic disapproval no vote, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D. OR) saying: "The vice president said 'take it or leave it. We left it."

In response, Speaker Pelosi said:

"House Democrats share the President's commitment to providing the middle class with a tax cut to grow the economy and create jobs (even though economists know they don't do it). The House passed a bill last week to provide tax cuts for all Americans (another symbolic vote) but not a bonus tax cut to millionaires and billionaires. The extra tax cut for the top 3 percent does not create jobs and increases the deficit. Unfortunately, Senate Republicans blocked the bill from being approved."

Democrats, however, were disingenuous proposing it.

Yet Pelosi insisted that "Democratic priorities remain clear: to provide a tax cut for working families, to create jobs and economic growth....and to do this in a fiscally sound way."

She also said if the Senate votes on Obama's proposal, she'll introduce it in the House, despite caucus opposition. It's no secret why.

She and her husband, Paul, a successful San Francisco financier/businessman, are among America's super-rich. In 2009, Open Secrets.org ranked her sixth among wealthiest House members with a net worth up to $124,229,990. Clearly, she and her husband want Bush era tax cuts extended, her rhetoric notwithstanding, saying she and House Democrats reject Obama's proposal as currently written (and will) continue discussions with the President and our Democratic and Republican colleagues....to improve (it) before it comes to the House floor for a vote."

As now written, Obama's deal extends $150 billion in income tax savings to America's wealthy over the next two years. In addition, many billions more in capital gains and estate tax savings, as well as hundreds of billions to corporations and private equity investors, including the little mentioned "carried interest," loophole.

It taxes private equity profits as capital gains, not ordinary income. In return, American workers get crumbs, the same unfair treatment since the economic crisis erupted in fall 2007. According to MF Global policy analysts, benefits from the deal are around $1 trillion, the lion's share to America's wealthy and business. They'll give up none of it and should prevail given the cowardice of Democrats to say no.

Another Perspective on Obama's Deal

On December 7, Washington Post writer Scott Wilson's article headlined, "Obama's tax cut extension part of strategy to show bipartarisanship," saying:

"The move is based on a political calculation, drawn from his party's midterm defeat, that places a premium on winning back independent voters (read conservative ones, Tea Party supporters, and America's aristocracy)."

In other words, shifting right, not left, is planned, not to placate his base but big-monied interests that funded his victory. Raising their taxes assures abandonment for Republicans in 2012. Watch for forthcoming policy to prevent it, ignoring popular need as a result.

A Wall Street Journal Editorial View

A December 10 Wall Street editorial headlined "Pelosi and the Hostage Fakers" threw down the gauntlet saying:

Democrats, not Republicans, are "political hostage takers....What a crew. Democrats....have had two years to avoid this day of tax reckoning, yet they kicked the tough vote into a lame duck session....Then when (Obama) seeks to spare the country a huge tax increase, (the midterm losers) try to bust up the economy and the Obama Presidency on their way out of town."

Moreover, "They want to punish the successful, no matter the economic damage." Whether or not Obama budges on his deal, "why should Republicans oblige? (If) the deal goes down and and taxes go up on January 1, no one will (blame) Republicans....Americans will rightly conclude that Mr. Obama is so incompetent he can't even deliver Members of his own party."

For their part, "Republicans would be fools to give Democrats a single new concession, even a token one. (If) Democrats defeat the current deal," Republicans in the 112th Congress can use their House majority to pass their own and dare Democrats and Obama to oppose them. "That's why we think the Pelosi Democrats are really hostage fakers and will fold if their bluster is called."

If Obama is "pounded into retreat, (he's) headed for" a "Cartersville" resting place, meaning, of course, one term, succeeded by a right wing Republican. Top priority is avoiding it, mindful that a November Pew Research Center poll found 59% of independents saying he should work with Republicans. Another 29% prefer sticking with tough opposition.

At the same time, other polls show most independent voters and Obama's base oppose tax cuts for the wealthy. Nonetheless, according to Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee:

"We've seen so much political malpractice and negotiating incompetence from this White House. They consistently cede ground they do not need to cede, and give up on fights they (shouldn't) lose."

Why, of course, is that rhetoric aside, Obama puts wealth and power interests above popular needs, what he'll do more of in 2011 and 2012, stiffing his base even more while trying to convince them he's loyal.

Following a stunning midterm defeat, historian Sean Wilentz said:

"You have to reinvent yourself to some (extent), and become intensely political in the day-to-day trench warfare that will be Washington politics over the next two years. But you must combine that with an appeal that recaptures some of the (2008 campaign) excitement....you have to do that now" not with 2012 in mind, "but for the good of the country." For whom he didn't say.

Obama himself acknowledged the need for a "midcourse correction," meaning a right shift to do even more for America's wealthy and corporate interests, to outdo Republicans at their own game. He admitted it, saying "we've got to find consensus," meaning capitulation to wealth and power while pretending he's populist at heart.

Hard Times Are Getting Harder

Extending Bush era tax cuts is just the beginning. Watch for vital social program reductions, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid especially targeted. In addition, implementing Obama's deficit cutting commission's proposals are prioritized to slash government payrolls, tax employer provided health insurance, impose a national sales tax, perhaps end home mortgage deductions, and more regressive harshness.

Yet selling those ideas may prove near impossibly challenging without deceitfully clever slights of hand, trying to convince people that less is more for greater prosperity. The economic equivalent of "war is peace, freedom is slavery, (and) ignorance is strength." Perhaps those ideas will follow.

Moreover, expect less help for the unemployed, none for 99ers (workers who've exhausted the maximum 99 weeks of benefits), and foreclosed homeowners, as well as little in the way of job creation to put people back to work and stimulate economic growth.

Economist David Rosenberg mentioned another red flag:

"One of the most pronounced macro risks is another leg down in US home prices," that's already underway but gets little attention. Along with high unemployment and weak job creation, the distressed housing market is a major economic achilles heel. He also calls the full Obama deal a "neutral economic force in 2011," offset in part by higher mortgage costs, gasoline and heating oil prices, plus whatever other bad news surprises during very unsettling times.

A Final Comment

For American workers, harder times are coming, austerity and deficit cutting taking precedence over job creation, stimulating economic growth, or addressing popular needs when the urgency to do so is vital.

Calling him hard-right, an elitist, a corporatist, pursuing anti-populist policies, an earlier article addressed the real Obama, not the myth too many still believe.

His sweetheart deal to America's aristocracy is the latest sellout - abandoning popular needs, disdaining ordinary workers, showing allegiance solely to big monied interests he hopes will reward him with another four years.

Whether voters catch on and say no we'll discover by following credible polls as human misery index numbers rise. Make no mistake. There's nothing planned to improve them, more takeaways than serious relief. If that doesn't provoke public anger, what will?


Stephen Lendman

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. His blog is sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to Lendman's cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.



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This story was published on December 11, 2010.
 

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