Friday, October 28, 2011

Bits & Pieces on domestic American politics from the Alternative Press

Just a "few" bits and pieces on domestic American politics tonight.

In This Edition:
[Edited 10/29/11]

- Dennis Kucinich on Occupy Wall Street & National Emergency Employment Defense (NEED) Act
- Recent Occupy Wall Street Polls (oldest first)
- Study Confirms Wealth Distribution in United States is Most Unequal Among Industrialized Nations
- CBO Study Shows Growing Inequality
- Noam Chomsky at Occupy Boston--Three Part Video
- Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (Bad) News
- Article on Rick Perry "Flat Tax"
- Bob Dylan--High Water [For Charley Patton]


Dennis Kucinich on Occupy Wall Street:

Friday, 28 October 2011

Dear Friends, 

An Iraq War veteran who survived two tours of duty gets his skull fractured in ... Oakland! 
53 activists arrested in Atlanta. SWAT teams deployed to boot out peaceful protesters. 

Recent actions against Occupy protesters are irresponsible and tragic. They're an assault on our democracy. These protesters are bravely exercising their right to freedom of expression, to bring attention to a political and economic system that's rigged against most Americans. I stand with them; and, all Americans -- left and right -- should join me in protecting their freedom to non-violently create change. 

This isn't a Democratic or Republican movement. It's not about one party or one policy. It's about standing up to a financial system that's completely backwards. Wall Street banks get billions in bailouts and emerge with massive profits. Most Americans see a program of austerity in a painful economic climate -- benefit cuts, high unemployment, declining wages, and crumbling infrastructure. Congress moved swiftly to "save" banks (something I strongly opposed), and now Congress is paralyzed, unable to create jobs and to save our middle class.

It's no surprise Americans are standing up. Our country's economic policies have consolidated and accelerated wealth to the top. One percent of Americans now control 42% of our wealth. It's not radical to think this is out of balance or to demand a government that is of the people and for the people. I've been to these protests, and I can tell you they're filled with honest, hard working Americans who are concerned with the direction of our country and our economic future.

I am deeply concerned. I'm concerned about an economic system which tethers job creation to China and big banks. We shouldn't have to borrow money from China -- or Japan or South Korea -- to get out of this ditch. We should stop the Fed from giving billions to the big banks. We have to take back the power to manage our own economy, to regain control over our monetary system, consistent with the U.S. Constitution. That's why, one month ago, I introduced the National Emergency Employment Defense (NEED) Act. The legislation would put the Federal Reserve under the Department of the Treasury, and it would help us recapture control of our financial system. As part of the NEED Act, Congress would use its constitutional power to invest in America, creating millions of jobs by putting billions of dollars directly into circulation. And since this money is adding real, tangible value to our national wealth, it will not generate inflation. 

We need a financial system that is of the people and for the people. We need to take it back from the big banks. We need economic and social justice. I will continue to support the Occupy movement. I will continue to fight for legislation, including the NEED Act, that sets America on a path of jobs for all, health care for all, education for all, retirement security for all, and peace.

Let's keep this movement alive. Let's keep fighting for economic and social justice. Keep occupying Wall Street. And, with your help, I'll keep occupying Congress. 

With respect, 

Dennis Kucinich 

P.S. Please forward this email to your friends and family, and share it on Facebook and Twitter. Let's spread this movement, and continue to support the Occupy protests.

Recent Occupy Wall Street Polls

4 Polls That Show Occupy Wall Street is Just Getting Started
By Lynn Parramore, AlterNet
Posted on October 24, 2011, Printed on October 28, 2011

After over a month of demonstrations, numerous dismissals, and thousands of arrests, Occupy Wall Street is gaining momentum. Over the last two weeks, polls have poured in revealing that Americans familiar with the protests largely support them. And since that familiarity will continue to increase, we can only conclude that the country's support for the movement will keep on growing. When you've got NYT pundit Charles Blow unfurling his hipster flag comparing OWS to legendary 90s band Nirvana, you know a tipping point has been reached!

Recent polls prove that when Americans hear this band, they dig it. Here’s a round-up:

Oct. 9-10 Time Magazine/Abt SRBI: This poll showed a 54 percent favorable rating of OWS, compared to a mere 27 percent thumbs up for the Tea Party.
. . . .

Oct. 13-16 United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll: Here, a majority of those polled – fully 59 percent – said that they backed the goals of the protests from what they "know about the demonstrations." And 68 percent supported the Democratic surtax on millionaires to pay for the cost of their jobs plan, a policy cited by OWS protesters in a recent Millionaire's March in New York City.

Oct. 17 Quinnipiac poll: This survey of New York City voters revealed that the Big Apple is on board with OWS. 67 percent agreed with the views of the Wall Street protesters and a whopping 87 percent believed it's okay that they are protesting.
. . . .

Bottom line: If this thing continues to grow – and there is every indication that it will – the Occupy Wall Street could become the definitive movement for an entire generation. On Sunday, Noam Chomsky addressed Occupy Boston and called the movement "unprecedented." "There's never been anything like it," said Chomsky. "If the bonds and associations that are being established at these remarkable events can be sustained through a long, hard period ahead – because victories don’t come quickly – it could turn out to be a real historic, a very significant moment in American history."

October 25, 2011 6:30 PM
Poll: 43 percent agree with views of "Occupy Wall Street"
By Brian Montopoli Topics Polling

Forty-three percent of Americans agree with the views of the "Occupy Wall Street" movement, according to a new CBS News/New York Times poll that found a widespread belief that money and wealth should be distributed more evenly in America.

Twenty-seven percent of Americans said they disagree with the movement, which began more than a month ago in lower Manhattan and has since spread across the country and around the world. Thirty percent said they were unsure. . . . .

Study Confirms Wealth Distribution in United States is Most Unequal Among Industrialized Nations

A new study released Thursday has found the distribution of wealth in the United States is among the most unequal among industrialized nations. The United States ranked in the bottom five on a combination of issues including poverty prevention, health and access to education—ahead of only Greece, Chile, Mexico and Turkey. The study was done by the German-based Bertelsmann Foundation. Meanwhile, a new study here in the United States has found New York State has the highest income inequality of all 50 states and that the New York City metropolitan region has the highest income inequality of any large metro area.

CBO Study Shows Growing Inequality
The Report:
Trends in the Distribution of Household Income Between 1979 and 2007

CBO Cites Income Inequality

Noam Chomsky at Occupy Boston--Three Part Video

Noam Chomsky at Occupy Boston: Video 1 of 3

Noam Chomsky at Occupy Boston: Video 2 of 3

Noam Chomsky at Occupy Boston: Video 3 of 3

See also:

Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction News

Democrats Offer Significant Concessions
Plan Is to the Right of Bowles-Simpson and Gang of Six

PDF of this statement (4pp.)

By Robert Greenstein, Richard Kogan and Paul N. Van de Water
Revised October 28, 2011

The new deficit-reduction plan from a majority of Democrats on the congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (the "supercommittee") marks a dramatic departure from traditional Democratic positions — and actually stands well to the right of plans by the co-chairs of the bipartisan Bowles-Simpson commission and the Senate's "Gang of Six," and even further to the right of the plan by the bipartisan Rivlin-Domenici commission. The Democratic plan contains substantially smaller revenue increases than those bipartisan proposals while, for example, containing significantly deeper cuts in Medicare and Medicaid than the Bowles-Simpson plan. The Democratic plan features a substantially higher ratio of spending cuts to revenue increases than any of the bipartisan plans.

Although the new plan thus moves considerably closer to Republican positions than any of the bipartisan plans, Republicans have been quick to reject it. . . . .

See rest here: Democrats Offer Significant Concessions

Article on Rich Perry "Flat Tax"

Rick Perry’s Flat Tax Plan: Not A Flat Tax

BRIAN BEUTLER OCTOBER 26, 2011, 6:00 AM 8647 64

The flat tax is such a popular idea in conservative circles that Texas Governor Rick Perry is trying to revive his presidential primary campaign by proposing one.

Except for the flat tax part.

It turns out Perry’s plan isn’t flat, doesn’t eliminate the current tax code, as many conservative elites claim to want, and would likely blow a huge hole in the federal budget.

Perry’s plan doesn’t scrap existing tax law altogether, but rather creates a new, parallel tax code that taxes individual and corporate income at 20 percent. Investment income would go untaxed. Every tax payer would have a choice between staying in the current system, or transferring over to the new one. But as Michael Linden, a tax expert at the liberal Center for American Progress, points out, the new, simpler, alternative code would constitute a tax increase for most Americans and a huge tax cut for wealthy Americans, creating incentives for a small well-to-do sliver of the country to make the switch, and for everyone else to stay put.

. . . .

“For most people who don’t have big capital gains and dividend income, they’re going to stay in the current system,” Linden explained. “It’s not a flat tax.”

. . . .

“For very wealthy people who do have big capital gains and dividends — they’ll take the new one, but even that’s not really a flat tax. It’s 20 percent on ordinary income and zero percent on investment income.”

. . . .

“The wealthy will end up benefitting from a very simple tax code, and they’re going to end up paying really low rates,” Linden said. “Of the richest 400 taxpayers, fully 66 percent of their total adjusted gross income came from capital gains and another seven percent came from dividends. So basically for the very wealthy you’re going to save nearly 75 percent of income from taxation. It’s just a massive tax cut for very wealthy.” . . . .

Bob Dylan--High Water [For Charley Patton]

They took away the previous, excellent, original version of "High Water" posted on October 28, so we are stuck with this:

For what its worth, a more recent, shall we say different, version of High Water. Lacks the power of the original because the words are secondary to the godawful gaudy, noise-filled performance. He's lost himself it seems to become a clownish performer, just an old shadow of who he was.

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