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Old August 8th, 2011, 12:29 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Who Rules America?

Who Rules America?

An Investment Manager Breaks Down the Economic Top 1%, Says 0.1% Controls Political and Legislative Process


I sit in an interesting chair in the financial services industry. Our clients largely fall into the top 1%, have a net worth of $5,000,000 or above, and if working make over $300,000 per year. My observations on the sources of their wealth and concerns come from my professional and social activities within this group.
...

The Upper Half of the Top 1%

Membership in this elite group is likely to come from being involved in some aspect of the financial services or banking industry, real estate development involved with those industries, or government contracting. Some hard working and clever physicians and attorneys can acquire as much as $15M-$20M before retirement but they are rare. Those in the top 0.5% have incomes over $500k if working and a net worth over $1.8M if retired. The higher we go up into the top 0.5% the more likely it is that their wealth is in some way tied to the investment industry and borrowed money than from personally selling goods or services or labor as do most in the bottom 99.5%. They are much more likely to have built their net worth from stock options and capital gains in stocks and real estate and private business sales, not from income which is taxed at a much higher rate. These opportunities are largely unavailable to the bottom 99.5%.

...

I think it’s important to emphasize one of the dangers of wealth concentration: irresponsibility about the wider economic consequences of their actions by those at the top. Wall Street created the investment products that produced gross economic imbalances and the 2008 credit crisis. It wasn’t the hard-working 99.5%. Average people could only destroy themselves financially, not the economic system. There’s plenty of blame to go around, but the collapse was primarily due to the failure of complex mortgage derivatives, CDS credit swaps, cheap Fed money, lax regulation, compromised ratings agencies, government involvement in the mortgage market, the end of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999, and insufficient bank capital. Only Wall Street could put the economy at risk and it had an excellent reason to do so: profit. It made huge profits in the build-up to the credit crisis and huge profits when it sold itself as “too big to fail” and received massive government and Federal Reserve bailouts. Most of the serious economic damage the U.S. is struggling with today was done by the top 0.1% and they benefited greatly from it.

Not surprisingly, Wall Street and the top of corporate America are doing extremely well as of June 2011. For example, in Q1 of 2011, America’s top corporations reported 31% profit growth and a 31% reduction in taxes, the latter due to profit outsourcing to low tax rate countries. Somewhere around 40% of the profits in the S&P 500 come from overseas and stay overseas, with about half of these 500 top corporations having their headquarters in tax havens. If the corporations don’t repatriate their profits, they pay no U.S. taxes. The year 2010 was a record year for compensation on Wall Street, while corporate CEO compensation rose by over 30%, most Americans struggled. In 2010 a dozen major companies, including GE, Verizon, Boeing, Wells Fargo, and Fed Ex paid US tax rates between -0.7% and -9.2%. Production, employment, profits, and taxes have all been outsourced. Major U.S. corporations are currently lobbying to have another “tax-repatriation” window like that in 2004 where they can bring back corporate profits at a 5.25% tax rate versus the usual 35% US corporate tax rate. Ordinary working citizens with the lowest incomes are taxed at 10%.

I could go on and on, but the bottom line is this: A highly complex and largely discrete set of laws and exemptions from laws has been put in place by those in the uppermost reaches of the U.S. financial system. It allows them to protect and increase their wealth and significantly affect the U.S. political and legislative processes. They have real power and real wealth. Ordinary citizens in the bottom 99.9% are largely not aware of these systems, do not understand how they work, are unlikely to participate in them, and have little likelihood of entering the top 0.5%, much less the top 0.1%. Moreover, those at the very top have no incentive whatsoever for revealing or changing the rules. I am not optimistic.

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Old August 8th, 2011, 06:03 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Corporations rule America, plain and simple.
We are enslaved to them with no way out.
The only out I can see personally is another civil war.
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Old August 8th, 2011, 08:46 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Found this video discussion from the John Perkins, author of Economic Hit Man. Video is broken up in multiple sections. Found it interesting that corporations once had to provide for the public good and had to provide proof that they met this criteria. A bit quaint in today's environment.

FORA.tv - John Perkins: How to Remake the Global Economy
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Old August 9th, 2011, 08:27 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Corporations rule America, plain and simple.
A good example of this was the Copyright Term Extension Act. Brought in because Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and friends would have gone public domain otherwise, and Disney couldn't have that happening.
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Old August 9th, 2011, 08:39 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Yep large mega corporations and the extremely wealthy have a much larger voice in our political process no way around that simple fact.
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Old August 9th, 2011, 08:48 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The silence resounding from the pro-business, no-tax conservatives on this board is deafening ...
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Old August 10th, 2011, 09:36 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I'm not sure I get the point of this thread. Isn't this the case almost everywhere in the world? a long held truism in politics and international relations is that politics almost always follows the money, not the other way around.
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Old August 10th, 2011, 09:42 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by noah way View Post
The silence resounding from the pro-business, no-tax conservatives on this board is deafening ...
Found a publicly financed health system the conservatives can rally around, it's not for humans.

System Monitors Health Of New Composite Military Missiles
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Old June 27th, 2012, 07:55 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Yep large mega corporations and the extremely wealthy have a much larger voice in our political process no way around that simple fact.
Found this at Sen. Sanders Web site. Looks interesting. You can read full amendment and sign petition supporting this amendment.

Petition - A Petition to Support the Saving American Democracy Amendment : Bernie Sanders - U.S. Senator for Vermont

"Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United
States to expressly exclude for-profit corporations from
the rights given to natural persons by the Constitution
of the United States, prohibit corporate spending in all
elections, and affirm the authority of Congress and the
States to regulate corporations and to regulate and set
limits on all election contributions and expenditures."
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Old June 29th, 2012, 01:32 PM   #10 (permalink)
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If people voted, paid attrention to those they elected and fired the bums when they fail to do what they promiced, things would change. It does not matter how much money flows into their campaign. As soon as We the People pay attention and hold these idiots accountable, they will change.

Money helps then win, but that does not matter; votes only matter. Corporations can give a politician tens of millions of dollars, but that is wasted cash that does no good when people pay attention and start voting the bums out.

My fear is if a republican is elected, the HC bill will not be dispatched. I just do not trust them anymore.Getting rid of all Dems is a start, but I still think if a republican is elected, it will not change.

My view is we will see things we should never see happening in this country and my fear is this will be far more scary place in the next few years.
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Old June 29th, 2012, 03:30 PM   #11 (permalink)
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... Money helps then win, but that does not matter; votes only matter. Corporations can give a politician tens of millions of dollars, but that is wasted cash that does no good when people pay attention and start voting the bums out. ...
Asymmetrical data results in asymmetrical results. Sort of garbage-in garbage-out.

We make decisions based on the information we know, if information is skewed, results are skewed.

The very rich can afford to promote their views via a range of media. They can afford to hire bloggers, posters, "grass root" (Astroturf) movements, media storefronts (TV, Radio, Print), etc. which will skew the information provided to voters.
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Old June 29th, 2012, 11:22 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I guess you can say MONEY rules America. It's how Romney was all for the healthcare bill for his state as governor, but now as a republican running for president, he's all against it on a national level.

How is it different from a state level and national level?
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Old July 1st, 2012, 05:12 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I guess you can say MONEY rules America. It's how Romney was all for the healthcare bill for his state as governor, but now as a republican running for president, he's all against it on a national level.

How is it different from a state level and national level?
Don't blame Romney, he's just doing what his masters pay him do. If you're not paying him, tough cookies. This is a pay-to-play system.
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Old July 2nd, 2012, 04:44 PM   #14 (permalink)
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So I guess the black son of a single mother could never amount to much, huh?
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Old July 2nd, 2012, 11:15 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Well, when I said Money rules America, I was referring to this type of money.

Foreign Ownership of U.S. Companies Rising | Economy In Crisis

Along with Congress being bought off...
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Old July 3rd, 2012, 05:02 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Well, when I said Money rules America, I was referring to this type of money.

Foreign Ownership of U.S. Companies Rising | Economy In Crisis

Along with Congress being bought off...
Is the president also being bought off?
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Old July 3rd, 2012, 10:43 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Is the president also being bought off?
Good question. Maybe different ones do. But remember, congress members stay in office longer than most presidents.
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Old July 3rd, 2012, 05:32 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Romney's tax returns would be a good place to look to find loop holes that should be closed.

Investigation: Mitt Romney

Page 3.

"Some see the rising influence of finance and financial models in epochal terms. Author of Financialization and the U.S. Economy Özgür Orhangazi summarizes academic literature that sees financialization “as one of the indicators of the decline of the hegemonic power”: imperial Venice, Genoa, Holland, and Britain all saw their power rise on the back of productive industrial capitalism, followed by domination by the financial sector, which eventually began to cannibalize the productive sector in pursuit of financial returns—a process that ended in weakness and collapse."
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Old July 3rd, 2012, 07:19 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Corporations rule America, plain and simple.
We are enslaved to them with no way out.
The only out I can see personally is another civil war.
Actually bankers rule America, mainly the Rothchild family who have been around for centuries. If you look into their history you will see that what is going on in America today is nothing new as they have been creating a worldwide banking monopoly for a long period of time, and they are now trying to place the final pieces which are in Iran, and North Korea so you can expect to see conflicts in one or both of those countries in the near future. They currently have a central bank set up in every country but those 2, and that is why I say we will see conflicts in those locations. They have been manipulating economies and starting wars for financial gain for a very long time, and I do not see an end in sight unless it is shut down at the source.
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Old July 3rd, 2012, 09:41 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Yet another call for class warfare?
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Old July 5th, 2012, 02:51 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Yet another call for class warfare?
If you mean the criminal class, yes, they have been engaged in warfare. The rest of us are now becoming aware of this warfare.

http://blogs.wsj.com/source/2012/07/03/how-deep-does-the-libor-scandal-run/

"Mr. Diamond and various anonymous bankers quoted in the press suggest that regulators at the very least knew and condoned banks’ practice of submitting Libor quotes below where they were actually willing to trade and perhaps were encouraging the practice."
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Old July 5th, 2012, 09:26 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Warfare? That's a very broad interpretation of what constitutes war!

And the article you link to asks the question as to what law, if any, was actually broken; surely to be part of the criminal class engaged in this 'war' you're aware of.
Try not to make the mistake of fighting the last war. At least the Department of Defense Irregular Warfare Support Program (IWSP) is aware that economic crimes is part of warefare.

The article is linked to the crime of bid rigging the LIBOR. The bench mark for loans.
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Old July 6th, 2012, 03:34 AM   #23 (permalink)
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..."...the crime of bid rigging the LIBOR..."
Tried looking, can't find that crime listed; could you please link to it...
You may want to do your own research, try Google. My guess is you are capable of this feat, but very intellectually young. So here is a link where it spells out the conclusion for you.

A Huge Break in the LIBOR Banking Investigation | Matt Taibbi | Rolling Stone

"Barclays agreed to pay at least $450 million to resolve government investigations of manipulation of Libor and the Euro interbank offered rate (or Euribor): $200 million to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, $160 million tothe criminal division of the U.S. Department of Justice and $92.8 million to Britain's Financial Services Authority."
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Old July 6th, 2012, 05:14 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Doesn't need to get personal.
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Old July 6th, 2012, 12:15 PM   #25 (permalink)
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A simple 'no' would've sufficed.

I note that in none of the linked articles you present are there any confirmed criminal charges or convictions; investigations, yes, but not charges or convictions.

I tend to go with 'innocent until proven guilty', but that's just me, and maybe that's why you think I'm a moron.

Personally I think it's more moronic to make accusations against people without due process. YMMV
Which part of "Barclays agreed to pay at least $450 million to resolve government investigations of manipulation of Libor and the Euro interbank offered rate (or Euribor)" is confusing ?

It is difficult to put a corporation in jail, so a penalty is usually assessed. Charges against individuals follow. Barclays is the 1st, UBS to follow.

Barclay didn't plea guilty and pay a fine due to lack of effective legal counsel. The CEO was also given the boot.

This is just the beginning of the process, now the governments have the cooperation of the "guilty" corporation, records of evidence of wrongdoing will point to the individuals that can see the inside of a jail cell.
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Old July 6th, 2012, 05:29 PM   #26 (permalink)
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None of it confuses me in and of itself, but what is confusing is how you interpret it as an answer to my question, or as 'proof' of your assertions??

I suspect that you're aware this statement you've quoted isn't confusing, but you pose your question to infer that I'm somehow less able to understand it than you, because we disagree on another issue; and to some reading it will appear that you're 'point scoring'

I'm sure the irony of you posing your particular argument by exaggeration of the truth won't be lost on the more astute readers.
Read posts starting at #23. I cite links that support a conclusion a crime had been committed. A corporation has agreed manipulation of the LIBOR rates has been committed and agreed to accept a penalty. Individuals have not been charged or convicted, we do know that corporations aren't people, but are composed of people, therefor a corporation has admitted a crime has been committed by unnamed individuals of said corporation.

We haven't yet started on the warfare aspect.
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Old July 6th, 2012, 06:38 PM   #27 (permalink)
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according to obama, via proxy (valerie varrett)
HE rules the united states. take that, conservative nut jobs. elections have consequences.
Obama to "rule" as president - YouTube
he is a truly great ruler.
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Old July 6th, 2012, 09:03 PM   #28 (permalink)
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according to obama, via proxy (valerie varrett)
HE rules the united states. take that, conservative nut jobs. elections have consequences.
Obama to "rule" as president - YouTube
he is a truly great ruler.
That was the transition team of 2008, stating Obama wouldn't be President till 20 Jan 2009. Has no bearing on your premise.
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Old July 6th, 2012, 09:35 PM   #29 (permalink)
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My premise?
Obama is a great ruler. That is undeniable. Look at the recent unemployment numbers. They look good, thanks to Obama, but we still have a long way to go.
You should be beaten for your insolence.
fortunately, master is benevolent.
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Old July 6th, 2012, 09:37 PM   #30 (permalink)
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He rules now.
He will continue to rule.
HE is the ruler if the land.
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Old July 6th, 2012, 11:10 PM   #31 (permalink)
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My premise?
Obama is a great ruler. That is undeniable. Look at the recent unemployment numbers. They look good, thanks to Obama, but we still have a long way to go.
You should be beaten for your insolence.
fortunately, master is benevolent.
Work on your comedian delivery and don't quit your day job.
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Old July 7th, 2012, 06:38 AM   #32 (permalink)
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Work on your comedian delivery and don't quit your day job.
I'm unemployed....
Now, you must admit that THAT'S funny.
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Old July 8th, 2012, 11:34 PM   #33 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by saptech View Post
Well, when I said Money rules America, I was referring to this type of money.

Foreign Ownership of U.S. Companies Rising | Economy In Crisis

Along with Congress being bought off...
No wonder, the US corporate leadership is clueless and unaccountable, they like to play Duke for a Day.

Behind Duke's CEO-for-a-Day - WSJ.com

"Despite his short-lived tenure, Mr. Johnson will receive exit payments worth as much as $44.4 million, according to Duke"
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Old July 9th, 2012, 11:25 AM   #34 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by OutofDate1980 View Post
No wonder, the US corporate leadership is clueless and unaccountable, they like to play Duke for a Day.

Behind Duke's CEO-for-a-Day - WSJ.com

"Despite his short-lived tenure, Mr. Johnson will receive exit payments worth as much as $44.4 million, according to Duke"
And when they lay off the lower workers who's out in the trenches doing the real work, they will be lucky to get a few thousands dollars in severnce money, if that.
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Old July 12th, 2012, 08:21 AM   #35 (permalink)
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Here's another example of our fine Corporations creating jobs...

Team USA To Be Decked Out in Uniforms Made in China | ABC News Blogs - Yahoo! News
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Old July 12th, 2012, 03:47 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by saptech View Post
Here's another example of our fine Corporations creating jobs...

Team USA To Be Decked Out in Uniforms Made in China | ABC News Blogs - Yahoo! News
Outsource the athletes ?
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Old July 13th, 2012, 04:37 PM   #37 (permalink)
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Corporations rule America, plain and simple.
We are enslaved to them with no way out.
The only out I can see personally is another civil war.
Rather than civil war, try the Iceland solution.

How Iceland stalks its banksters | Presseurop (English)

"To date, some convictions have been achieved. Two former officials of the Byr bank, the first to be brought to trial, are now serving prison sentences of four and a half years. The former chief of staff to the finance minister at the time of the crisis, Baldur Gudlaugsson, was sentenced to two years in jail for insider trading. More recently, Sigurdur Einarsson, former CEO of the Baupthing Bank was sentenced to reimburse the bank 500 million Icelandic kronur – 3.2 million euros – and had his assets frozen."
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Old July 17th, 2012, 08:27 PM   #38 (permalink)
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Corporate interests and banks run the country. We vote people into power by what they say they will do in the future instead of what they are doing in the present.
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Old July 17th, 2012, 10:26 PM   #39 (permalink)
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Corporate interests and banks run the country. We vote people into power by what they say they will do in the future instead of what they are doing in the present.
Corporate interests may find a better ROI by employing some creative software engineers to "improve" voting machines. No need to waste all that money on propaganda. No need to convince voters on who or what to vote for, just program the voting machines to tabulate the voting results the RIGHT way.

Digital Voting Machines: Still FUBAR?? | Mother Jones

A 2007 Princeton University study concluded, "Many computer scientists doubt that paperless [digital voting machines] can be made reliable and secure, and they expect that any failures of such systems would likely go undetected."
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Old July 19th, 2012, 09:31 PM   #40 (permalink)
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Robert Reich (The Problem Isn't Outsourcing. It's that the Prosperity of Big Business Has Become Disconnected from the Well-Being of Most Americans)

"The American economy has moved way beyond outsourcing abroad or even “in-sourcing.” Most big companies headquartered in America don’t send jobs overseas and don’t bring jobs here from abroad.

That’s because most are no longer really “American” companies. They’ve become global networks that design, make, buy, and sell things wherever around the world it’s most profitable for them to do so."

"More than a third of what you pay for an iPhone ends up in Japan, because that’s where some of its most advanced components are made. Seventeen percent goes to Germany, whose precision manufacturers pay wages higher than those paid to American manufacturing workers, on average, because German workers are more highly skilled. Thirteen percent comes from South Korea, whose median wage isn’t far from our own.

Workers in the United States get only about 6 percent of what you pay for an iPhone. It goes to American designers, lawyers, and financiers, as well as Apple’s top executives."
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Old July 20th, 2012, 11:44 AM   #41 (permalink)
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I guess you can say MONEY rules America. It's how Romney was all for the healthcare bill for his state as governor, but now as a republican running for president, he's all against it on a national level.

How is it different from a state level and national level?
Bit late, but I guess health is generally the responsibility of state/regional governments (at least in Europe), and its kind of an issue of sovereignty. That said, if a government cant look after its own people, its the responsibility of the government above it to see that things are fixed. And as the healthcare bill doesnt create a healthcare system as such, it wouldnt really infringe on states rights.
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Old July 20th, 2012, 06:21 PM   #42 (permalink)
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What ever happened to the Egg Council?
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Old July 22nd, 2012, 10:57 PM   #43 (permalink)
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£13tn: hoard hidden from taxman by global elite | Business | The Observer

"A global super-rich elite has exploited gaps in cross-border tax rules to hide an extraordinary £13 trillion ($21tn) of wealth offshore – as much as the American and Japanese GDPs put together – according to research commissioned by the campaign group Tax Justice Network."
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Old July 25th, 2012, 10:18 AM   #44 (permalink)
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Go along to get along, the culture of regulators.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/22/business/neil-barofskys-journey-into-a-bailout-buzz-saw-fair-game.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all

"His story is illuminating, if deeply depressing. We tag along with Mr. Barofsky, a former federal prosecutor, as he walks into a political buzz saw as the special inspector general for TARP. Government officials, he says, eagerly served Wall Street interests at the public’s expense, and regulators were captured by the very industry they were supposed to be regulating. He says he was warned about being too aggressive in his work, lest he jeopardize his future career."
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Old July 29th, 2012, 08:53 PM   #45 (permalink)
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I'm going way back to address something in the original post.

Ask your self really, dig a second and set aside the engrained working class mentality to hate the rich &%#$&^s and look from practicality. Isn't it in our best interests that it is that way?

The guy who is an ok manager never gets out of middle management if he gets that far. You certainly would never put him at the head of HP... You have to be very smart to amass and keep a fortune like that but smart is not every thing you have to be clever and a strong fearless leader.

Corporate America has taken over our country, you can't blame that on a conspiracy of the rich. Its our own laziness.

Corporations and Governments truly both live and die by 1 simple rule. What we put up with before we start chopping off heads.

Voter turn out in America is pathetic. I know better than half of the people in this forum arguing politics didn't even vote last time.

I don't give my money to bad companies if I can help it. I vote my conscience and ignore the Bipartisan bickering. and I take time to do things like write posts like this.

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Old July 30th, 2012, 06:02 AM   #46 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by PH8AL View Post
Voter turn out in America is pathetic. I know better than half of the people in this forum arguing politics didn't even vote last time.
Voter turnout everywhere is pathetic. You maybe get 50-60% for legislative elections and 40-50% for referendums. Mind you if people cant inform themselves its better they dont vote, probably loses hard right and communist-lite parties some votes.
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Old July 31st, 2012, 12:14 PM   #47 (permalink)
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We The People rule America. Always have. what's changed is we do not pay attention to what is going on.
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Old July 31st, 2012, 01:15 PM   #48 (permalink)
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We The People rule America. Always have. what's changed is we do not pay attention to what is going on.
You must be a person who is a banker (not a window bank-teller) or politician. but seriously, people are starting to pay attention more, and I foresee real civil unrest and violence in the not-too-distant future. Anyone feel like wagering?
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Old July 31st, 2012, 01:27 PM   #49 (permalink)
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You must be a person who is a banker (not a window bank-teller) or politician. but seriously, people are starting to pay attention more, and I foresee real civil unrest and violence in the not-too-distant future. Anyone feel like wagering?
If I were elected president, I would do what is required to set things on the road to recovery. What needs to be done would be unpopular with many citizens and therefore, yes, civil unrest might be the outcome.
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Old July 31st, 2012, 01:34 PM   #50 (permalink)
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ummmmm... presidents weren't supposed to have that much power... That's sort of why we're where we are now.
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