The National Enquirer and the Clinton Foundation Friday, Aug 26 2016 

The previous post expressed the view that the Clinton Foundation was exactly what it purported to be: A charitable foundation, similar to the thousands of charitable foundations all over the country.

So far as we know, the Clintons don’t receive any money from the Foundation, though we expect that their travel expenses on behalf of the Foundation would be reimbursed.

If there is any evidence the Clintons profit in any way from their Foundation (aside from tax deductions), I’d be interested to hear about it.

Go the the Clinton Foundation web site, and you will see the FAQs, among which are:

Who contributes to the Foundation? Where can I find a list of Foundation donors?

We are proud to have more than 300,000 contributors; 90% of our donations are $100 or less. Like all philanthropic organizations, the Foundation depends on contributions to pursue our work around the world. While not required by any law, but in keeping with a long-held commitment to transparency, the Clinton Foundation has for years listed all contributors dating back to the Foundation’s beginning on our website.

Do the Clintons receive any income or personal expense reimbursement from the Foundation?

No. President Clinton and Chelsea Clinton, who serve on the Board of Directors, do not take a salary from the Clinton Foundation and receive no funding from it. Secretary Clinton did not take a salary when she served on the Board of Directors.

If anyone has facts to show otherwise, I’ll be glad to publish them.

After the previous post was published, we had to admonish certain readers who claimed the Clinton Foundation was some sort of scam, though no facts were provided. For instance:

“You left out what the purpose of this ‘charity’ is, and who stands to benefit most. I think you might find the mud is there. Recall the saying that Democrats go into politics to get rich, Republicans are already rich so they go in for influence.”

and

“You imply it’s not possible? You hear often how charities are used as personal enrichment devices. Scandals are a dime a dozen.”

and

“Rodger, you conflate elected politician and appointed civil servant. The former gets a pass because the Supreme Court says corporations are people and can give boat loads of Free $peech to elect candidates for public office. However, we all know this is legal bribery with its corrupting influence. Who are we kidding? It really disgraces our electoral process, but that’s the system we got. The Secretary of State, on the other hand, as all appointed civil servants, must be beyond reproach. Even if innocent, there must be no appearance of impropriety to maintain confidence in the person and the office.”

and

“Its problematic because this is this is not the first time questionable campaign fund-raising practices have been associated with the Clintons. Younger readers might be interested when President Bill Clinton raised contributions by inviting donors to sleep overnight in the Lincoln Bedroom of the White House.”

and

“The Clintons just can’t help themselves despite all evidence they should know better, as a past President and First Lady, lawyers both. You know you’re going to run for President in the future, why do you put yourself in these positions.”

and

“It is the smoke we are talking about, Rodger. Surely you are not so naive to think these bozos can’t hide their tracks well enough a lot of the time, and with connections good enough to get out of jail when they slip up?”

You’ll notice these comments have one thing in common: No facts; all innuendo. Zero evidence of wrongdoing.  It’s what I call the “National Enquirer method.

These readers can be excused, because they are not economists, writers or professional columnists, who are expected to have standards for presenting accusations.

Which brings us to Charles Krauthammer, who is a columnist. Here are excerpts from today’s commentary about the Clinton Foundation. He cleverly titled the article: “The bribery standard,” though he provides zero evidence of any bribery:

Clinton’s scandals are sprawling, multi-layered, complex things. They defy time and space.

“Defy time and space”? Nothing like a bit of melodrama to set the stage for a fact-free piece.

The real question (about Clinton’s Emails) wasn’t classification but: Why did she have a private server in the first place?

It wasn’t convenience. It was concealment. What exactly was she hiding?

Was this merely the prudent paranoia of someone who habitually walks the line of legality?

If she controls the server, she controls the evidence, and can destroy it — as she did 30,000 Emails — at will.

But destroy what?

“Why?” “What?” “Was?”

All those leading questions, devoid of facts.  Do they remind you of what you read in the gossip news? (“Which beautiful star was seen cuddling with which married executive at one of Hollywoods most exclusive restaurants?”)

And in that vein, Mr. Krauthammer wrote::

The foundation is a massive family enterprise disguised as a charity, an opaque and elaborate mechanism for sucking money from the rich and the tyrannous to be channeled to Clinton Inc.

Its purpose is to maintain the Clintons’ lifestyle (offices, travel, accommodations, etc.), secure profitable connections, produce favorable publicity and reliably employ a vast entourage of retainers, ready to serve today and at the coming Clinton Restoration.

It’s not “disguised as a charity.” It is a charity supervised by the Clintons, who by the way, are not paid for their work.

Apparently, “sucking money” is more exciting than “receiving donations.”

It seems Mr. Krauthammer does not want this charity to secure connections, produce favorable publicity or employ people.

And what the heck is the “coming Clinton Restoration”?

Money is not “channeled to ‘Clinton Inc.'” whatever that is.  If Mr. Krauthammer has any evidence whatsoever, that the Clintons illegally or even unethically received any money, he has a front page exclusive — a columnist’s dream.

But since I’ve not seen his byline on any front pages, and probably never will, I’m guessing he has no such evidence. It’s all speculation and grimy gossip column stuff.

So far as I know, the money is used the same way all other legitimate charities use money: For three purposes:

  1. For investment, to build up the assets of the charity
  2. To pay expenses of the charity
  3. To fund good works.

That is how charities operate. I can only imagine that Mr. Krauthammer never has been involved with a charitable foundation, else he would understand these things.

Now we learn how the whole machine operated. Two weeks ago, emails began dribbling out showing foundation officials contacting State Department counterparts to ask favors for foundation “friends.”

Say, a meeting with the State Department’s “substance person” on Lebanon for one particularly generous Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire.

This is supposed to be a scandal? “If you give to this charity, I’ll get you a meeting with an important person.”

That sort of back-scratching probably doesn’t happen more than ten thousand times a day in Washington.  I myself have received calls asking whether I’d like to attend a many-dollars-per-plate dinner to meet such-and-such politician.

And mostly the favors are far more personal than “give to this charity.” Usually, they are “give to my re-election committee.”

The next batch revealed foundation requests for face time with the secretary herself. Such as one from the crown prince of Bahrain.

To be sure, Bahrain, home of the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, is an important Persian Gulf ally. Its crown prince shouldn’t have to go through a foundation — to which his government donated at least $50,000 — to get to the secretary.

The fact that he did is telling.

What’s “telling” is Mr. Krauthammer’s putting 2 and 2 together and getting 22.

Mr. Krauthammer presents zero evidence Mrs. Clinton herself received any money or benefitted in any way from the crown prince’s donation.

Mr. Krauthammer presents zero evidence the crown prince of Bahrain needed to bribe anyone to see Mrs. Clinton (In fact, Mr. Krauthammer admits otherwise.)

Mr. Krauthammer presents zero evidence there was any connection at all, between the donation and a meeting with Mrs. Clinton.

It’s all “wink-wink, hint-hint,” completely lacking substance.  Its print amateurism and misdirection at its worst. It’s a perfect example of why the media is so mistrusted these days.

More than half the private interests who were granted phone or personal contact with Secretary Clinton — 85 of 154 — were donors to the foundation. Total contributions? As much as $156 million.

The title of the article was “The bribery standard.” Are these 85 donors supposed to be an example of “bribery”?  If so, who was bribed? The charity?

Yes, it’s obvious that access and influence were sold. But no one has demonstrated definitively that the donors received something tangible of value — a pipeline, a permit, a waiver, a favorable regulatory ruling — in exchange.

It’s hard to believe the Clinton folks would be stupid enough to commit something so blatant to writing. Nonetheless, there might be an email allusion to some such conversation. With thousands more emails to come, who knows what lies beneath?

Translation: “Obvious” means I have absolutely no evidence, but I want you to have a negative interpretation.

“No one has demonstrated definitively” also means there is absolutely no evidence, but hey, who needs evidence when rank speculation is so much more titillating.

There might be” means “I have my fingers crossed.”

And then there is yet another gossip columnist question: “Who knows what lies beneath?” which means, “I have no idea what I’m talking about, but doesn’t this sound delicious!

We are hardly bothered by the routine practice of presidents rewarding big donors with cushy ambassadorships, appointments to portentous boards and invitations to state dinners.

The bright line seems to be outright bribery. Anything short of that is considered — not just for the Clintons, for everyone — acceptable corruption.

It’s a sorry standard. And right now it is Hillary Clinton’s saving grace.

What??!  That’s it? After all the leading questions and implied bribery, that’s it? Bemoaning the idea that Mrs. Clinton must be following “routine practice,” warrants the “Bribery” headline?

To be clear, this post is not a defense of Mrs. Clinton. I much would have preferred Elizabeth Warren or even Bernie Sanders, though when it comes to honesty, Mrs. Clinton is light years ahead of Donald Trump (He of Trump University and multiple bankruptcies).

Rather this post is a protest against the “Enquirization” of the media and of the political discourse. The “I’m only askin'” excuse for spreading innuendo is disgusting.

Donald Trump does it all the time. “Is Obama really a citizen.” “What was Cruz’s father doing near Lee Harvey Oswald?” And let’s not forget his silly insinuations about Mrs. Clinton’s health.

Trump is Trump. He is amoral. We know it and we expect it of him.

But we have every right to be shocked and angered when the media, even the right wing media, descend into the muck with him.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty

===================================================================================
Ten Steps to Prosperity:
1. ELIMINATE FICA (Ten Reasons to Eliminate FICA )
Although the article lists 10 reasons to eliminate FICA, there are two fundamental reasons:
*FICA is the most regressive tax in American history, widening the Gap by punishing the low and middle-income groups, while leaving the rich untouched, and
*The federal government, being Monetarily Sovereign, neither needs nor uses FICA to support Social Security and Medicare.
2. FEDERALLY FUNDED MEDICARE — PARTS A, B & D, PLUS LONG TERM CARE — FOR EVERYONE (H.R. 676, Medicare for All )
This article addresses the questions:
*Does the economy benefit when the rich afford better health care than the rest of Americans?
*Aside from improved health care, what are the other economic effects of “Medicare for everyone?”
*How much would it cost taxpayers?
*Who opposes it?”
3. PROVIDE AN ECONOMIC BONUS TO EVERY MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD IN AMERICA, AND/OR EVERY STATE, A PER CAPITA ECONOMIC BONUS (The JG (Jobs Guarantee) vs the GI (Guaranteed Income) vs the EB) Or institute a reverse income tax.
This article is the fifth in a series about direct financial assistance to Americans:

Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Employer of Last Resort is a bad idea. Sunday, Jan 1 2012
MMT’s Job Guarantee (JG) — “Another crazy, rightwing, Austrian nutjob?” Thursday, Jan 12 2012
Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Jobs Guarantee is like the EU’s euro: A beloved solution to the wrong problem. Tuesday, May 29 2012
“You can’t fire me. I’m on JG” Saturday, Jun 2 2012

Economic growth should include the “bottom” 99.9%, not just the .1%, the only question being, how best to accomplish that. Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) favors giving everyone a job. Monetary Sovereignty (MS) favors giving everyone money. The five articles describe the pros and cons of each approach.
4. FREE EDUCATION (INCLUDING POST-GRAD) FOR EVERYONEFive reasons why we should eliminate school loans
Monetarily non-sovereign State and local governments, despite their limited finances, support grades K-12. That level of education may have been sufficient for a largely agrarian economy, but not for our currently more technical economy that demands greater numbers of highly educated workers.
Because state and local funding is so limited, grades K-12 receive short shrift, especially those schools whose populations come from the lowest economic groups. And college is too costly for most families.
An educated populace benefits a nation, and benefiting the nation is the purpose of the federal government, which has the unlimited ability to pay for K-16 and beyond.
5. SALARY FOR ATTENDING SCHOOL
Even were schooling to be completely free, many young people cannot attend, because they and their families cannot afford to support non-workers. In a foundering boat, everyone needs to bail, and no one can take time off for study.
If a young person’s “job” is to learn and be productive, he/she should be paid to do that job, especially since that job is one of America’s most important.
6. ELIMINATE CORPORATE TAXES
Corporations themselves exist only as legalities. They don’t pay taxes or pay for anything else. They are dollar-tranferring machines. They transfer dollars from customers to employees, suppliers, shareholders and the government (the later having no use for those dollars).
Any tax on corporations reduces the amount going to employees, suppliers and shareholders, which diminishes the economy. Ultimately, all corporate taxes come around and reappear as deductions from your personal income.
7. INCREASE THE STANDARD INCOME TAX DEDUCTION, ANNUALLY. (Refer to this.) Federal taxes punish taxpayers and harm the economy. The federal government has no need for those punishing and harmful tax dollars. There are several ways to reduce taxes, and we should evaluate and choose the most progressive approaches.
Cutting FICA and corporate taxes would be an good early step, as both dramatically affect the 99%. Annual increases in the standard income tax deduction, and a reverse income tax also would provide benefits from the bottom up. Both would narrow the Gap.
8. TAX THE VERY RICH (THE “.1%) MORE, WITH HIGHER PROGRESSIVE TAX RATES ON ALL FORMS OF INCOME. (TROPHIC CASCADE)
There was a time when I argued against increasing anyone’s federal taxes. After all, the federal government has no need for tax dollars, and all taxes reduce Gross Domestic Product, thereby negatively affecting the entire economy, including the 99.9%.
But I have come to realize that narrowing the Gap requires trimming the top. It simply would not be possible to provide the 99.9% with enough benefits to narrow the Gap in any meaningful way. Bill Gates reportedly owns $70 billion. To get to that level, he must have been earning $10 billion a year. Pick any acceptable Gap (1000 to 1?), and the lowest paid American would have to receive $10 million a year. Unreasonable.
9. FEDERAL OWNERSHIP OF ALL BANKS (Click The end of private banking and How should America decide “who-gets-money”?)
Banks have created all the dollars that exist. Even dollars created at the direction of the federal government, actually come into being when banks increase the numbers in checking accounts. This gives the banks enormous financial power, and as we all know, power corrupts — especially when multiplied by a profit motive.
Although the federal government also is powerful and corrupted, it does not suffer from a profit motive, the world’s most corrupting influence.
10. INCREASE FEDERAL SPENDING ON THE MYRIAD INITIATIVES THAT BENEFIT AMERICA’S 99.9% (Federal agencies)Browse the agencies. See how many agencies benefit the lower- and middle-income/wealth/ power groups, by adding dollars to the economy and/or by actions more beneficial to the 99.9% than to the .1%.
Save this reference as your primer to current economics. Sadly, much of the material is not being taught in American schools, which is all the more reason for you to use it.

The Ten Steps will grow the economy, and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and you.

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY
d

How did the Clinton Foundation get to be a stigma? Wednesday, Aug 24 2016 

What do you know about the Clinton Foundation?

No, I mean really. Think about it for a moment. What do you know about the Clinton Foundation?

And what is your attitude about the Clinton Foundation?

I ask, because of a short Email I received from Bloomberg Politics. Here are some excerpts:

With 76 days until election day, Hillary Clinton’s not-so-great week of e-mail-cum-Clinton Foundation woes marches on.

“E-mail – cum- Clinton Foundation woes”? What exactly are the “woes” for a foundation that gives to charity?

Donald Trump’s campaign is now going on offense after a new report found that more than half of the people outside the government who met with the former Secretary of State during her tenure gave money to the Foundation.

Let’s parse that sentence: We’re not talking about everyone Clinton has met.

We’re not even talking about everyone she met while she was Secretary of State.

And we’re not even talking about everyone she met while Secretary of State, who were not government employees.

We only are talking about half of non-government people who met her during the 4-year period, 2009-2013 — a relatively small number.

And what exactly is the complaint about those people? That they gave Mrs. Clinton money? No, that might be illegal, depending on circumstance.

That they gave Mrs. Clinton campaign contributions? No, would be perfectly legal in most cases.

The complaint seems to be, so far as I can tell, that these people gave to a charity started by Bill Clinton — not to Bill, not to Hillary, but to a charity.

While this type of access-granting is not necessarily illegal or out of the norm in political circles (and while the Clinton campaign is saying the report is based on flawed data), the story adds another pang to the doubts already plaguing the Clinton campaign.

No, it’s not at all illegal, and yes, it is the norm. And, if it’s not illegal, or even out of the norm, why does giving money to a charity that does not benefit the Clintons, add a “pang to doubts” plaguing the Clinton campaign?

Because Donald Trump said so.

Remind me: Isn’t Trump the guy who lied that President Obama is not a citizen? Isn’t Donald Trump the guy who is waiting to be civilly and criminally prosecuted for the Trump University scam that lined his pockets at the expense of innocent students.

And isn’t there a bit of irony to Trump’s criticism of a charitable foundation? (Trump promised millions to charity. We found less than $10,000 over 7 years.

Will Clinton’s lead in the polls and Trump’s disastrous August overshadow her transparency issues?

Or is it time for her to change her approach—and also maybe just shut the Foundation down?

Now that would be the real disgrace: Shut down a charity in an effort to get elected. This is what Bloomberg suggests? Yikes!

The claim (unproven, but so what?) is that Clinton gave introductions in return for contributions to the Foundation. She denies it.

But let’s say, worst-case, the accusations are true. Would the conversations have gone something like this:

“If you give a million dollars to my charitable foundation, I’ll arrange for you to meet Senator Jones.”
“O.K., Mrs. Clinton, I’ll give a million dollars to the Foundation.”

Is that pretty much what the worst-case scenario sounds like?

Maybe I’m naive. I don’t understand why it’s perfectly O.K. for people to give millions of dollars to Pacs and to candidates election committees, but not O.K. to give to a candidate’s charitymoney that does not go to the candidate herself.

Does anyone out there really believe rich donors like Mr. Bloomberg, give out campaign contributions, while expecting nothing in return, not even an introduction or a lunch meeting?

I have a long-time friend, who donated a lot of money to Obama’s campaign. My friend had dinner with Obama.  Ooooh . . . Is this a scandal?

And we’re not even talking about campaign contributions. We’re talking about charity. 

If someone came to me and said, “I’ll give a million dollars for cancer research, if you get me a meeting with Vice President Biden”, I’d do my darndest to make it happen.

And if I succeeded, I’d feel I’d done a good thing for the world.

But, Bloomberg wants Clinton to shut down a charity, a charity that is doing good for the world, just so she can get elected. I guess that is what passes for morality, today.

And Donald Trump, who lies about his meager charitable giving, criticizes the Clinton Foundation, and the media buy into the nonsense.

The world has turned upside down.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty

===================================================================================
Ten Steps to Prosperity:
1. ELIMINATE FICA (Ten Reasons to Eliminate FICA )
Although the article lists 10 reasons to eliminate FICA, there are two fundamental reasons:
*FICA is the most regressive tax in American history, widening the Gap by punishing the low and middle-income groups, while leaving the rich untouched, and
*The federal government, being Monetarily Sovereign, neither needs nor uses FICA to support Social Security and Medicare.
2. FEDERALLY FUNDED MEDICARE — PARTS A, B & D, PLUS LONG TERM CARE — FOR EVERYONE (H.R. 676, Medicare for All )
This article addresses the questions:
*Does the economy benefit when the rich afford better health care than the rest of Americans?
*Aside from improved health care, what are the other economic effects of “Medicare for everyone?”
*How much would it cost taxpayers?
*Who opposes it?”
3. PROVIDE AN ECONOMIC BONUS TO EVERY MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD IN AMERICA, AND/OR EVERY STATE, A PER CAPITA ECONOMIC BONUS (The JG (Jobs Guarantee) vs the GI (Guaranteed Income) vs the EB) Or institute a reverse income tax.
This article is the fifth in a series about direct financial assistance to Americans:

Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Employer of Last Resort is a bad idea. Sunday, Jan 1 2012
MMT’s Job Guarantee (JG) — “Another crazy, rightwing, Austrian nutjob?” Thursday, Jan 12 2012
Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Jobs Guarantee is like the EU’s euro: A beloved solution to the wrong problem. Tuesday, May 29 2012
“You can’t fire me. I’m on JG” Saturday, Jun 2 2012

Economic growth should include the “bottom” 99.9%, not just the .1%, the only question being, how best to accomplish that. Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) favors giving everyone a job. Monetary Sovereignty (MS) favors giving everyone money. The five articles describe the pros and cons of each approach.
4. FREE EDUCATION (INCLUDING POST-GRAD) FOR EVERYONEFive reasons why we should eliminate school loans
Monetarily non-sovereign State and local governments, despite their limited finances, support grades K-12. That level of education may have been sufficient for a largely agrarian economy, but not for our currently more technical economy that demands greater numbers of highly educated workers.
Because state and local funding is so limited, grades K-12 receive short shrift, especially those schools whose populations come from the lowest economic groups. And college is too costly for most families.
An educated populace benefits a nation, and benefiting the nation is the purpose of the federal government, which has the unlimited ability to pay for K-16 and beyond.
5. SALARY FOR ATTENDING SCHOOL
Even were schooling to be completely free, many young people cannot attend, because they and their families cannot afford to support non-workers. In a foundering boat, everyone needs to bail, and no one can take time off for study.
If a young person’s “job” is to learn and be productive, he/she should be paid to do that job, especially since that job is one of America’s most important.
6. ELIMINATE CORPORATE TAXES
Corporations themselves exist only as legalities. They don’t pay taxes or pay for anything else. They are dollar-tranferring machines. They transfer dollars from customers to employees, suppliers, shareholders and the government (the later having no use for those dollars).
Any tax on corporations reduces the amount going to employees, suppliers and shareholders, which diminishes the economy. Ultimately, all corporate taxes come around and reappear as deductions from your personal income.
7. INCREASE THE STANDARD INCOME TAX DEDUCTION, ANNUALLY. (Refer to this.) Federal taxes punish taxpayers and harm the economy. The federal government has no need for those punishing and harmful tax dollars. There are several ways to reduce taxes, and we should evaluate and choose the most progressive approaches.
Cutting FICA and corporate taxes would be an good early step, as both dramatically affect the 99%. Annual increases in the standard income tax deduction, and a reverse income tax also would provide benefits from the bottom up. Both would narrow the Gap.
8. TAX THE VERY RICH (THE “.1%) MORE, WITH HIGHER PROGRESSIVE TAX RATES ON ALL FORMS OF INCOME. (TROPHIC CASCADE)
There was a time when I argued against increasing anyone’s federal taxes. After all, the federal government has no need for tax dollars, and all taxes reduce Gross Domestic Product, thereby negatively affecting the entire economy, including the 99.9%.
But I have come to realize that narrowing the Gap requires trimming the top. It simply would not be possible to provide the 99.9% with enough benefits to narrow the Gap in any meaningful way. Bill Gates reportedly owns $70 billion. To get to that level, he must have been earning $10 billion a year. Pick any acceptable Gap (1000 to 1?), and the lowest paid American would have to receive $10 million a year. Unreasonable.
9. FEDERAL OWNERSHIP OF ALL BANKS (Click The end of private banking and How should America decide “who-gets-money”?)
Banks have created all the dollars that exist. Even dollars created at the direction of the federal government, actually come into being when banks increase the numbers in checking accounts. This gives the banks enormous financial power, and as we all know, power corrupts — especially when multiplied by a profit motive.
Although the federal government also is powerful and corrupted, it does not suffer from a profit motive, the world’s most corrupting influence.
10. INCREASE FEDERAL SPENDING ON THE MYRIAD INITIATIVES THAT BENEFIT AMERICA’S 99.9% (Federal agencies)Browse the agencies. See how many agencies benefit the lower- and middle-income/wealth/ power groups, by adding dollars to the economy and/or by actions more beneficial to the 99.9% than to the .1%.
Save this reference as your primer to current economics. Sadly, much of the material is not being taught in American schools, which is all the more reason for you to use it.

The Ten Steps will grow the economy, and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and you.

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY

Trump says police need to be tougher Tuesday, Aug 23 2016 

Donald Trump says, police need to ‘get tougher.’

June 29, 2015

Trump’s appearance before the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board and a speech at the City Club of Chicago came the same day NBC announced it was cutting ties with Trump, star of the long-running reality television program “Celebrity Apprentice.”

The network cited his remarks from his presidential kickoff speech earlier this month that Latino immigration brings drugs, crime and rapists to the United States.

Trump stood by those comments during the editorial board visit, adding, “I have many friends in Mexico. I have great relationships in Mexico.”

Similarly, he has “many friends” in the black community, “many friends” in the gay community, “many friends” among the poor, “many friends among immigrants, and “many friends” among all those women who do not meet Trump’s standards for beauty.

The man is loaded with “friends,” which is why so many Republicans have disowned him.

But much of his remarks to the Tribune focused on crime in Chicago, which he said is damaging the city’s reputation.

Crime in Chicago is out of control and I will tell you, outside of Chicago, it’s a huge negative and a huge talking point, a huge negative for Chicago,” he said.

You’ve got to stop it. You’re not going to stop it by being nice. You’re going to stop it by being one tough son of a bitch,” Trump said.

Trump acknowledged there have been cases of police brutality but said he believed police today are not as tough as when he was growing up in the mid-1960s.

You need tough cookies. These are tough kids. These are not babies. These are tough, tough kids. If they saw you walking down the street, they wouldn’t give a damn about you,” he said. “You can’t be so gentle with these people.

We’re not sure who “these people are” (Actually, we are sure. They are black people.)

But, that was then (2015). This is now, and Trump still is Trump:

O’Reilly Interrupts Trump’s ‘Tough’ Talk to Remind Him Cops Can’t Just Beat People Up
by Lindsey Ellefson | 8:59 pm, August 22nd, 2016

Trump told a story about an unnamed Chicago police officer who is a “rough, tough guy” and who wants to “use tough police tactics” to get the city back on track.

O’Reilly interrupted him with this: You need a warrant to arrest people. You can’t beat them up! You have to have a warrant to arrest them!

Trump didn’t acknowledge what O’Reilly said about the necessity of warrants and instead brushed him off, saying, “All I know is this: I went to a top police officer in Chicago who is not the police chief and he — I could see by the way he was dealing with his people, he was a rough, tough guy, they respected him greatly.”

He went on to say that police should be allowed to “counter attack” anyone attacking them.

Apparently ,the Los Angeles police agree with Trump. They know how to get tough with “these people.”

Video of police being tougher

This is a graphic video of L.A. police beating a handcuffed man unconscious, standing on his ankles, kicking his head, and elbowing and kneeing his back for more than three minutes as he lay face down in the street, then dragging him off.

By the way, he was innocent. Mistaken identity. Oh, well. Stuff happens.

But of course, stuff always happens when the police are given free reign and are told to “get tough.”

Now, take a peek at the “punishment”: Plea deal with prosecutors

Tough enought for you, Mr. Trump?

=Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty

Ten Steps to Prosperity:
1. ELIMINATE FICA (Ten Reasons to Eliminate FICA )
Although the article lists 10 reasons to eliminate FICA, there are two fundamental reasons:
*FICA is the most regressive tax in American history, widening the Gap by punishing the low and middle-income groups, while leaving the rich untouched, and
*The federal government, being Monetarily Sovereign, neither needs nor uses FICA to support Social Security and Medicare.
2. FEDERALLY FUNDED MEDICARE — PARTS A, B & D, PLUS LONG TERM CARE — FOR EVERYONE (H.R. 676, Medicare for All )
This article addresses the questions:
*Does the economy benefit when the rich afford better health care than the rest of Americans?
*Aside from improved health care, what are the other economic effects of “Medicare for everyone?”
*How much would it cost taxpayers?
*Who opposes it?”
3. PROVIDE AN ECONOMIC BONUS TO EVERY MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD IN AMERICA, AND/OR EVERY STATE, A PER CAPITA ECONOMIC BONUS (The JG (Jobs Guarantee) vs the GI (Guaranteed Income) vs the EB) Or institute a reverse income tax.
This article is the fifth in a series about direct financial assistance to Americans:

Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Employer of Last Resort is a bad idea. Sunday, Jan 1 2012
MMT’s Job Guarantee (JG) — “Another crazy, rightwing, Austrian nutjob?” Thursday, Jan 12 2012
Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Jobs Guarantee is like the EU’s euro: A beloved solution to the wrong problem. Tuesday, May 29 2012
“You can’t fire me. I’m on JG” Saturday, Jun 2 2012

Economic growth should include the “bottom” 99.9%, not just the .1%, the only question being, how best to accomplish that. Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) favors giving everyone a job. Monetary Sovereignty (MS) favors giving everyone money. The five articles describe the pros and cons of each approach.
4. FREE EDUCATION (INCLUDING POST-GRAD) FOR EVERYONEFive reasons why we should eliminate school loans
Monetarily non-sovereign State and local governments, despite their limited finances, support grades K-12. That level of education may have been sufficient for a largely agrarian economy, but not for our currently more technical economy that demands greater numbers of highly educated workers.
Because state and local funding is so limited, grades K-12 receive short shrift, especially those schools whose populations come from the lowest economic groups. And college is too costly for most families.
An educated populace benefits a nation, and benefiting the nation is the purpose of the federal government, which has the unlimited ability to pay for K-16 and beyond.
5. SALARY FOR ATTENDING SCHOOL
Even were schooling to be completely free, many young people cannot attend, because they and their families cannot afford to support non-workers. In a foundering boat, everyone needs to bail, and no one can take time off for study.
If a young person’s “job” is to learn and be productive, he/she should be paid to do that job, especially since that job is one of America’s most important.
6. ELIMINATE CORPORATE TAXES
Corporations themselves exist only as legalities. They don’t pay taxes or pay for anything else. They are dollar-tranferring machines. They transfer dollars from customers to employees, suppliers, shareholders and the government (the later having no use for those dollars).
Any tax on corporations reduces the amount going to employees, suppliers and shareholders, which diminishes the economy. Ultimately, all corporate taxes come around and reappear as deductions from your personal income.
7. INCREASE THE STANDARD INCOME TAX DEDUCTION, ANNUALLY. (Refer to this.) Federal taxes punish taxpayers and harm the economy. The federal government has no need for those punishing and harmful tax dollars. There are several ways to reduce taxes, and we should evaluate and choose the most progressive approaches.
Cutting FICA and corporate taxes would be an good early step, as both dramatically affect the 99%. Annual increases in the standard income tax deduction, and a reverse income tax also would provide benefits from the bottom up. Both would narrow the Gap.
8. TAX THE VERY RICH (THE “.1%) MORE, WITH HIGHER PROGRESSIVE TAX RATES ON ALL FORMS OF INCOME. (TROPHIC CASCADE)
There was a time when I argued against increasing anyone’s federal taxes. After all, the federal government has no need for tax dollars, and all taxes reduce Gross Domestic Product, thereby negatively affecting the entire economy, including the 99.9%.
But I have come to realize that narrowing the Gap requires trimming the top. It simply would not be possible to provide the 99.9% with enough benefits to narrow the Gap in any meaningful way. Bill Gates reportedly owns $70 billion. To get to that level, he must have been earning $10 billion a year. Pick any acceptable Gap (1000 to 1?), and the lowest paid American would have to receive $10 million a year. Unreasonable.
9. FEDERAL OWNERSHIP OF ALL BANKS (Click The end of private banking and How should America decide “who-gets-money”?)
Banks have created all the dollars that exist. Even dollars created at the direction of the federal government, actually come into being when banks increase the numbers in checking accounts. This gives the banks enormous financial power, and as we all know, power corrupts — especially when multiplied by a profit motive.
Although the federal government also is powerful and corrupted, it does not suffer from a profit motive, the world’s most corrupting influence.
10. INCREASE FEDERAL SPENDING ON THE MYRIAD INITIATIVES THAT BENEFIT AMERICA’S 99.9% (Federal agencies)Browse the agencies. See how many agencies benefit the lower- and middle-income/wealth/ power groups, by adding dollars to the economy and/or by actions more beneficial to the 99.9% than to the .1%.
Save this reference as your primer to current economics. Sadly, much of the material is not being taught in American schools, which is all the more reason for you to use it.

The Ten Steps will grow the economy, and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and you.

 

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY

Is Moody’s a criminal enterprise or just plain ignorant? Monday, Aug 22 2016 

I’ve written about Moody’s before. You may know Moody’s as one of the “Big Three” credit rating agencies that gave high grades to worthless securities, and helped start the Great Recession.

You also may know standard practice for rating agencies is to be paid by the businesses they rate, a clear conflict of interest and an open invitation to criminality.

And, if you are a regular reader of this site, you know that unlike cities, counties, states, euro nations, businesses, you, and me (all of which are monetarily NON-sovereign), a Monetarily Sovereign (MS) nation never can be forced into bankruptcy. Never.

A Monetarily Sovereign nation can pay any bill of any size at any time, simply by creating its money. For MS governments, ability to pay never is an issue. The only issue is willingness to pay. 

Thus, an MS credit rating cannot legitimately be based on the amount of indebtedness. If the MS nation is willing, it can pay any bill.

An MS nation, even with minimal debt, could be given a low credit rating, if it has a history of refusing to pay its bills.  But, an MS nation, even one with huge debt, should receive a high credit rating if it always pays its bills.

To summarize, the “Big Three” credit agencies have a history of mis-rating securities, being paid by the subjects of their ratings and, as you will see, probably not recognizing the fundamental differences between Monetary Sovereignty and monetary non-sovereignty.

Reader “elizabethharris001” brought to our attention, an article in the Jerusalem Post titled, “Moody’s warns Israel new budget could downgrade credit rating.” The article said, in part:

Credit rating agency Moody’s on Thursday warned that the 2017- 2018 state budget proposal could be a step toward undermining Israel’s solid A1 credit rating.

Israel has a “solid A1 credit rating,” because it always pays its bills, in full and on time.

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon swept aside legal limits on spending increases and the deficit target in his budget proposal, which accommodated the many, expensive promises made in coalition deals.

The plan is expected to raise Israel’s debt-to-Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio, which fell below 65 percent in the past year.

This will have no effect on Israel’s ability or willingness to continue paying its bills, in full and on time.

“The rating or outlook could come under downward pressure if the commitment to fiscal discipline over the medium term was to wane,” the agency wrote in its annual Credit Analysis of Israel’s government.

“With the improvement in debt-to-GDP having already slowed compared to the mid-2000s, renewed fiscal easing puts at risk Israel’s credibility for budget discipline,” the report said.

When Moody’s mentions “budget discipline,” it is talking about austerity, the same process that has destroyed the economies of the euro nations — the same process that is responsible for every depression in U.S. history, as well as most recessions.

The Moody’s report was not all gloomy, however. It also praised Israel’s dynamic economy and its relatively strong performance when compared to many other advanced countries, still struggling in the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis.

Israel has a “strong performance,” but its debt above 65% of GDP warrants a reduction in credit rating? Think about the “logic” of that.

By confusing (intentionally??) MS nation finances with business finances (where large debt can impact ability to pay) Moody’s claims Israel’s debt requires a reduced credit rating.

Utterly false and misleading — demonstrating an ignorance bordering on criminal.  Is Moody’s even consistent in its false evaluations?

From Trading Economics:
Government Debt to GDP in Japan averaged 123.60 percent from 1980 until 2015, reaching an all time high of 229.20 percent in 2015.

Moody’s credit rating for Japan was last set at A1 with stable outlook.

Before we continue, Moody’s credit ratings, from top to bottom are: Aaa, Aa1, Aa2, Aa3, A1, A2, A3, Baa1, Baa2, Baa3, and lower.

Japan’s 229 and Israel’s 65 apparently warrant the same rating, and neither Japan nor Israel has been given Moody’s highest rating, despite the fact that both are Monetarily Sovereign and can and do pay all their bills on time.

Let’s look at a few other countries, courtesy of Trading Economics:

Canada: Debt to GDP of 91.50; Moody’s credit rating: Aaa

Canada, an MS nation with a much higher Debt/GDP ratio than Israel’s, and no better record of paying its bills, has an Aaa rating, four levels higher than Isreal’s current rating (which is about to be lowered).

As if that weren’t strange enough, let’s look at really crazy:

“Austria’s public debt reached a new peak of 86.2 percent of GDP in 2015 compared to 84.3 percent in 2014.”  Moody’s credit rating: Aaa, the highest rating.

So Austria, with a “worse” Debt-to-GDP ratio that Israel’s, and no better record of paying its bills, has a higher credit rating — and Austria, unlike Israel, is monetarily NON-sovereign.

Austria is part of the eurozone; it uses the euro, not it own sovereign currency. Austria does not have the unlimited ability to pay its bills. Unlike Israel, Austria could go bankrupt. But it has Moody’s highest rating.

And then here’s another eurozone nation, Germany:

“Germany recorded a Government Debt to GDP of 71.20 percent in 2015.” Moody’s credit rating: Aaa.

Germany too, is monetarily non-sovereign, and could be unable to pay its bills, but has Moody’s highest rating.

Finally, we come to the United States:

The United States recorded a Government Debt to GDP of 104.17 percent in 2015. Government Debt to GDP.  The United States averaged 61.94 percent from 1940 until 2015, reaching an all time high of 121.70 percent in 1946 and a record low of 31.70 percent in 1974.

Moody’s rating: Aaa

I call your attention to that 31.70 lowest Debt/GDP ratio. It comes right before a recession.

Monetary Sovereignty

In fact, there is an uncanny relationship between debt reduction and recessions. Most recessions follow a period of federal debt reduction.

And then there’s this inconvenient fact:

U.S. depressions tend to come on the heels of federal surpluses.

1817-1821: U. S. Federal Debt reduced 29%. Depression began 1819.
1823-1836: U. S. Federal Debt reduced 99%. Depression began 1837.
1852-1857: U. S. Federal Debt reduced 59%. Depression began 1857.
1867-1873: U. S. Federal Debt reduced 27%. Depression began 1873.
1880-1893: U. S. Federal Debt reduced 57%. Depression began 1893.
1920-1930: U. S. Federal Debt reduced 36%. Depression began 1929.

Finally, while Gross Domestic Product is a measure comprising 12 months, Federal Debt is a historical measure comprising the entire life of the United States. In short is the classic apples/oranges, meaningless ratio.

Bottom line: Moody’s (as well as the other two major rating agencies, S&P and Fitch) either do not understand how Monetary Sovereignty works or are paid not to understand.

They evaluate nations as though the nations were monetarily non-sovereign businesses. The rating agencies don’t reveal the basic fact that an MS nation cannot be forced into bankruptcy. It can pay its bills forever, despite its Debt/GDP ratio.

Any credit rating is based on just two factors: Ability and willingness to pay bills.

Because an MS nation has the unlimited ability to pay, Debt/GDP has no meaning when evaluating credit. No matter what its Debt/GDP ratio, any nation may or may not be willing to pay its bills.

The Big Lie states: “Federal taxes fund federal spending.” But for an MS nation, spending is funded by money creation, not by taxes nor by borrowing.

The Big Lie is a carefully crafted story. It is designed by the very rich to convince everyone there isn’t enough money available to narrow the Gap between the rich and the rest.

The Big Lie forces countries to cut the spending that would benefit the lower and middle classes. It caused our too-slow growth following the “Great Recession.” It is the method by which the very rich retain power over the world.

The credit agencies are willing, and well-paid, accomplices to the Big Lie.

Is it ignorance or paid criminality? You decide.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty

===================================================================================
Ten Steps to Prosperity:
1. ELIMINATE FICA (Ten Reasons to Eliminate FICA )
Although the article lists 10 reasons to eliminate FICA, there are two fundamental reasons:
*FICA is the most regressive tax in American history, widening the Gap by punishing the low and middle-income groups, while leaving the rich untouched, and
*The federal government, being Monetarily Sovereign, neither needs nor uses FICA to support Social Security and Medicare.
2. FEDERALLY FUNDED MEDICARE — PARTS A, B & D, PLUS LONG TERM CARE — FOR EVERYONE (H.R. 676, Medicare for All )
This article addresses the questions:
*Does the economy benefit when the rich afford better health care than the rest of Americans?
*Aside from improved health care, what are the other economic effects of “Medicare for everyone?”
*How much would it cost taxpayers?
*Who opposes it?”
3. PROVIDE AN ECONOMIC BONUS TO EVERY MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD IN AMERICA, AND/OR EVERY STATE, A PER CAPITA ECONOMIC BONUS (The JG (Jobs Guarantee) vs the GI (Guaranteed Income) vs the EB) Or institute a reverse income tax.
This article is the fifth in a series about direct financial assistance to Americans:

Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Employer of Last Resort is a bad idea. Sunday, Jan 1 2012
MMT’s Job Guarantee (JG) — “Another crazy, rightwing, Austrian nutjob?” Thursday, Jan 12 2012
Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Jobs Guarantee is like the EU’s euro: A beloved solution to the wrong problem. Tuesday, May 29 2012
“You can’t fire me. I’m on JG” Saturday, Jun 2 2012

Economic growth should include the “bottom” 99.9%, not just the .1%, the only question being, how best to accomplish that. Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) favors giving everyone a job. Monetary Sovereignty (MS) favors giving everyone money. The five articles describe the pros and cons of each approach.
4. FREE EDUCATION (INCLUDING POST-GRAD) FOR EVERYONEFive reasons why we should eliminate school loans
Monetarily non-sovereign State and local governments, despite their limited finances, support grades K-12. That level of education may have been sufficient for a largely agrarian economy, but not for our currently more technical economy that demands greater numbers of highly educated workers.
Because state and local funding is so limited, grades K-12 receive short shrift, especially those schools whose populations come from the lowest economic groups. And college is too costly for most families.
An educated populace benefits a nation, and benefiting the nation is the purpose of the federal government, which has the unlimited ability to pay for K-16 and beyond.
5. SALARY FOR ATTENDING SCHOOL
Even were schooling to be completely free, many young people cannot attend, because they and their families cannot afford to support non-workers. In a foundering boat, everyone needs to bail, and no one can take time off for study.
If a young person’s “job” is to learn and be productive, he/she should be paid to do that job, especially since that job is one of America’s most important.
6. ELIMINATE CORPORATE TAXES
Corporations themselves exist only as legalities. They don’t pay taxes or pay for anything else. They are dollar-tranferring machines. They transfer dollars from customers to employees, suppliers, shareholders and the government (the later having no use for those dollars).
Any tax on corporations reduces the amount going to employees, suppliers and shareholders, which diminishes the economy. Ultimately, all corporate taxes come around and reappear as deductions from your personal income.
7. INCREASE THE STANDARD INCOME TAX DEDUCTION, ANNUALLY. (Refer to this.) Federal taxes punish taxpayers and harm the economy. The federal government has no need for those punishing and harmful tax dollars. There are several ways to reduce taxes, and we should evaluate and choose the most progressive approaches.
Cutting FICA and corporate taxes would be an good early step, as both dramatically affect the 99%. Annual increases in the standard income tax deduction, and a reverse income tax also would provide benefits from the bottom up. Both would narrow the Gap.
8. TAX THE VERY RICH (THE “.1%) MORE, WITH HIGHER PROGRESSIVE TAX RATES ON ALL FORMS OF INCOME. (TROPHIC CASCADE)
There was a time when I argued against increasing anyone’s federal taxes. After all, the federal government has no need for tax dollars, and all taxes reduce Gross Domestic Product, thereby negatively affecting the entire economy, including the 99.9%.
But I have come to realize that narrowing the Gap requires trimming the top. It simply would not be possible to provide the 99.9% with enough benefits to narrow the Gap in any meaningful way. Bill Gates reportedly owns $70 billion. To get to that level, he must have been earning $10 billion a year. Pick any acceptable Gap (1000 to 1?), and the lowest paid American would have to receive $10 million a year. Unreasonable.
9. FEDERAL OWNERSHIP OF ALL BANKS (Click The end of private banking and How should America decide “who-gets-money”?)
Banks have created all the dollars that exist. Even dollars created at the direction of the federal government, actually come into being when banks increase the numbers in checking accounts. This gives the banks enormous financial power, and as we all know, power corrupts — especially when multiplied by a profit motive.
Although the federal government also is powerful and corrupted, it does not suffer from a profit motive, the world’s most corrupting influence.
10. INCREASE FEDERAL SPENDING ON THE MYRIAD INITIATIVES THAT BENEFIT AMERICA’S 99.9% (Federal agencies)Browse the agencies. See how many agencies benefit the lower- and middle-income/wealth/ power groups, by adding dollars to the economy and/or by actions more beneficial to the 99.9% than to the .1%.
Save this reference as your primer to current economics. Sadly, much of the material is not being taught in American schools, which is all the more reason for you to use it.

The Ten Steps will grow the economy, and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and you.

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY

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