Deja vu?

Since I started reading about the Occupy Wall Street protests I’ve been amazed how well planned and organized they seemed to be. Then I started to notice other things.

I posted the other day about the Working Families Party recruiting people, possibly as protesters. The Working Families Party is also connected to SEIU.

And then I remembered reading about former SEUI official Stephen Lerner’s plan to foment civil unrest and destabilize the banking system:

We basically said you stole seventeen trillion dollars – you’ve improvised us and we are going to make it impossible for you to operate

Labor can’t lead this right now so if labor can’t lead but we are a critical part of it  we do have money we have millions of members who are furious

But I don’t think this kind of movement can happen unless community groups and other activists take the lead.

If we really believe that we are in a transformative stage of  what’s happening in capitalism

Then we need to confront this in a serious way and develop really ability to put a boot in the wheel  then we have to think not about labor and community alliances  we have to think about how together we are building something that really has the capacity to disrupt how the system operates

We need to think about a whole new way of thinking about this not as a partnership but building something new.

We have to think much more creatively. The key thing… What does the other side fear the most – they fear disruption. They fear uncertainty. Every article about Europe says in they rioted in Greece the markets went down

The folks that control this country care about one thing how the stock market goes what the bond market does how the bonuses goes. We have a very simple strategy:

  • How do we bring down the stock market
  • How do we bring down their bonuses
  • How do we interfere with there ability to be rich

And that means we have to politically isolate them, economically isolate them  and disrupt them

It’s not all theory i’ll do a pitch.

So a bunch of us around the country think who would be a really good company to hate we decided that would be JP Morgan Chase  and so we are going to roll out over the next couple of months what would hopefully be an exciting campaign about JP Morgan Chase that is really about challenge the power of Wall Street.

And so what we are looking at  is the first week in May can we get enough people together starting now to really have an week of action in New York I don’t want to give any details because I don’t know if there are any police agents in the room.

The goal would be that we will roll out of New York the first week of May. We will connect three ideas

  • that we are not broke there is plenty of money
  • they have the money  - we need to get it back
  • and that they are using Bloomberg and other people in government as the vehicle to try and  destroy us

And so we need to take on those folks at the same time and that we will start here we are going to look at a week of civil disobedience – direct action all over the city then roll into the JP Morgan shareholder meeting which they moved out of New York because I guess they were afraid because of Columbus.

There is going to be a ten state mobilization it try and shut down that meeting and then looking at bank shareholder meetings around the country  and try and create some moments like Madison except where we are on offense instead of defense

Where we have brave and heroic battles challenging the power of the giant corporations. We hope to inspire a much bigger movement about redistributing wealth and power in the country and that labor can’t do itself that community groups can’t do themselves but maybe we can work something new and different that can be brave enough  and daring and nimble enough to do that kind of thing.

Other than the JP Morgan component, and a little later than planned, this sounds awfully familiar, and the same parties are involved.

It just seems a bit odd and convenient.

Five myths about millionaires.

Among other things, the Washington Post dispenses with the notion that millionaires don’t pay their fair share, or that they pay less tax than their secretaries:

In a speech on Monday, Obama said raising taxes on millionaires isn’t class warfare, but “math.” His math may be off: According to the IRS, those with adjusted gross incomes of more than $1 million paid an average of 23.3 percent in federal income taxes in 2008; those earning between $100,000 and $200,000 paid 12.7 percent; and those earning between $50,000 and $100,000 paid 8.9 percent. Nearly half of American families don’t make enough money to pay federal income taxes at all.

Why do people think millionaires pay less? One cause of confusion is that stock dividends and capital gains are taxed at a maximum of 15 percent, while regular income in their bracket is taxed at a maximum of 35 percent. The rich often earn more dividend and capital gains income than regular income, so it’s tempting to wrongly conclude, as Warren Buffet has, that millionaires “wouldn’t mind being told to pay more in taxes.” But dividends are paid out of corporate profits that have already been taxed. So Buffet’s equity earnings are doubly taxed: He pays 35 percent at the corporate level and 15 percent on his own return.

Lies, damn lies, and statistics.

I’ve grown fairly accustomed to seeing the mainstream media misreport on a story for their own purposes, but this example by MSNBC regarding Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan was just to blatant to not comment on:

“The poor would pay more while the rich would have their taxes cut, with no guarantee that economic growth will increase and good reason to believe that the budget deficit will increase” Bartlett recently wrote in the New York Times. “Even allowing for the poorly thought through promises routinely made on the campaign trail, Mr. Cain’s tax plan stands out as exceptionally ill conceived.

The reason the plan would hit poor people much harder that the wealthy is also simple. The current tax code provides a series of deductions, credits and exemptions that ease the tax burden on all households, but they have a greater positive impact those at the bottom of the income ladder. As a result, some 38 percent of U.S. households pay little or no income taxes. They would now suddenly be hit with what amounts to a tax bill that represents 27 percent of their income, according to USC law professor Edward Kleinbard, who published a paper this week calling the 9-9-9 plan “a terrific example of fiscal hocus pocus.”

MSNBC has no problem writing using and linking to a 2008 study that says that 38% of US households pay little or no income tax, but seems unable to click on the “[this table has been updated, click here]” link on that very same page to get to the current 2011 version that shows that number to now be 46.5%. Just lazy, or intentionally misleading?

And then they quote a USC professor that those people would suddenly be hit with a tax bill for 27% of their income, which is simply incorrect, and they don’t even bother to analyze it. Cain’s plan calls for 9% income tax, 9% business tax, and 9% sales tax. They will pay the 9% income tax, but since these people are not businesses the 9% business tax will not apply to them. And the 9% sales tax will only be paid on items they purchase, not on all of their income. So that tax isn’t 27%; it is clearly under %18. Yes an increase, but clearly not as stated.

I’m not commenting on how effective Cain’s plan would be, but MSNBC has already decided they don’t like it, and either through intent or simple laziness, they can’t be bothered to do the basic work of presenting useful information to the reader.

Remember the days when journalists did the hard work of uncovering and reporting on the facts to inform the reader? Or did they ever?

Grassroots protest?

Undoubtedly you’ve heard about the “Occupy Wall Street” protests, or the “We are the 99” movement. They seem to be everywhere in the news these days, but also seem to be far too well orchestrated and media savvy for a true grassroots movement. Could that be because they were intentionally organized? From Craigslist:

FIGHT TO HOLD WALLSTREET ACCOUNTABLE NOW! MAKE A DIFFERNENCE GET PAID!

Date: 2011-09-26, 5:09PM EDT

Reply to: job-fvgsu-2618821815@craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?] The Working Families Party (WFP) (www.workingfamiliesparty.org) is New York’s most energetic, independent and progressive political party. Formed in 1998 by a grassroots coalition of community organizations, neighborhood activists, and labor unions, we came together to build a society that works for all of us, not just Wall Street CEOs and the well-connected. WFP is independent from corporate and government funding and in-addition we are community based; community funded and equally uninfluenced by both major parties. Our agenda focuses on economic and social justice, corporate accountability, job creation, environmental protection, and investment in education and healthcare.

For the past twelve years the WFP has been at the fore front of progressive politics,

Leading the fight and helping to frame the debate. The WFP has a proud record of fighting for issues that matter and has been instrumental in implementing key pieces of legislation such as Raising New York’s Minimum Wage, Enacting Living Wage Laws, Creating Thousands of Jobs In the Green Economy, Passing Healthcare Reforms on the Local Level, Fighting for Affordable Housing, Keeping Tuition Costs Low, A Progressive Tax Code, Reliable/Cost Effective Public Transit System, Public Financing Of Elections and Corporate Accountability . In addition, we have an unapologetic stance on supporting and pushing good candidates to enact progressive legislation

The WFP is seeking immediate hires.

You must be an energetic communicator, with a passion for social and economic justice.

Only outgoing, articulate dedicated, determined candidates will be considered for the positions.

For those candidates that qualify WFP offers substantial paid-training provided by senior leadership, on varied issues such as: advocacy, public speaking, mobilizing, fundraising, networking and organizing. We invest in passionate people with excellent communication skills and a full benefits package is offered to those candidates that qualify. In addition, there is opportunity for advancement and travel to our satellite chapters and out of state affiliates.

This is not a policy job! Through direct action you will be shaping NY state politics for the next 20 years.

If you care about New York and want to help educate and mobilize around legislative campaigns-then we look forward to hearing from you!

Apply at http://www.workingfamiliesparty.org/jobs/.

Now I don’t have any idea if  the idea here is really to pay people to protest, but it sure does seem coincidental. And the whole event does seem to be very well planned, hardly the kind of thing that forms organically.

Generally though, it strikes me as a bunch of people who want everything given to them, without any concern for the economic reality of who would pay for it.

Tip of the hat to I Hate The Media.