Words are Cheap, Change is Hard Work

by William Skink

Los Angeles didn’t become the largest city to increase its minimum wage to $15 because people waited around every few years to cast votes for politicians, it happened because there is a growing worker’s movement changing the reality on the ground, day by day, city by city.

Elections still have consequences, but what politicians say—their “message”—is inconsequential because we know politicians say what they think we want to hear in order to get elected. Once in office, their true allegiance is to the deep donor pockets that got them there.

Democrats have a serious problem in 2016 and her name is Hillary Clinton. There is a lot of grass roots momentum on a variety of fronts building up, and the best way to destroy that momentum is to allow Clinton to transform it through her billion dollar alchemy into useless votes for a hopelessly corrupted political product.

By now it’s pretty obvious that Big Money has totally corrupted our political system. The Citizens United era is obscene and getting worse. But there are political conquerers within this cesspool who know how to win elections, and if you’ve limited yourself to swimming within the cesspool, the sage advice from someone like Jim Messina probably seems worth considering.

For a quick take, Pete Talbot boiled down the Politico piece to these four take-aways:

Of all the ways of communicating to voters, using Facebook and other social media, was the most effective because it was often a message shared by their friends or others they trusted versus politicians and the media that they don’t trust. We found that the undecided voters were moving our way as a result.

… an emphasis on enlisting known friends and trusted influencers to share the campaign’s message–restoring some believability to political messaging for low-information voters.

Mick (Jagger) was right, of course. No matter where you go, successful election campaigns are always about the future, not the past.

(And in the U.S.) by demonstrating that the Democratic Party had moved beyond an old agenda and toward a platform of nurturing a vibrant global economy and making the United States the dominant player in it … (that’s how) President Clinton and President Obama won two elections each.

Using social media to unwittingly con your Facebook friends with political calibrations geared toward some hopeful future won’t mean a goddamn thing if the future we’re talking about is a continued delusion about America’s dominant role in the world (as an antidote, check out Pepe Escobar’s piece, titled U.S. Wakes Up to New (Silk) World Order).

The work to produce incremental change is slowly being realized thanks to the relentless efforts of people on the ground. The work of establishment politicians, on the other hand, is producing Arctic drilling and sovereignty-killing trade agreements because that is the work they are being paid to do by the carousel of corruption.

Where you choose to allocate your time and energy is up to you. I’m glad I know where I stand.


  1. The rise of the machines.

    “On Tuesday, the Los Angeles City Council passed a minimum wage law by a 14-to-1 vote margin that continually cranks-up wages for the next five years to $15 an hour. Meanwhile, employers are responding by investing in machines over people.

    Four in 10 employers surveyed in the eighth annual poll by the Los Angeles County Business Federation say they expect to hire more people this year, up 10 percent over last year. But the numbers of employers that say they intend to make the type of capital investments that eliminate jobs through automation doubled, to 59 percent.”- Chriss Street.

  2. steve kelly

    Thanks Swede, again you make a good case for real tax reform.

    The 2015 social security tax rate is 6.2% (amount withheld) each for the employer and employee (12.4% total). The social security wage base limit is $118,500.

    The tax rate for Medicare is 1.45% (amount withheld) each for the employee and employer (2.9% total). There is no wage base limit for Medicare tax; all covered wages are subject to Medicare tax.

    Most machines are tax-deductible.

    Guess which is more popular among most business owners? Perverse insentive, no? I mean, what about all that talk about “creating good-paying jobs?”

    • You’re on the mark Steve with real tax reform. I’m thinking a flat 15% rate no deductions now that the mansion is paid off.

      • The current tax system is an effective flat tax of about 29%. All working people pay 14.2% on their first dollar, and eventually gravitate to a 15% income tax on too of that when their income gets to about $18,000.

        Investors, on the other hand, escape the 14.2% tax, and so don’t begin to pay the working man’s tax until their taxable income gets up to a quarter million or so.

        Any otehr expertise to offer us, tax breath?

  3. steve kelly

    “A flat tax” has no specific meaning without a definition.

    Any tax scheme could work if it can be insulated from political manipulation by establishing a clear vision (e.g. “reducing income inequality”) and mandatory goals and standards that support the vision.

    Fixing established categories at a percentage of total revenue, for example, for personal income (25%), corporate income (25%), and payroll (25%) could limit fluctuations, adjustments, and political manipulation to areas like excise, tariffs, surcharges and “other.” See: Chart http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/22/chart-shows-corp-taxes-grossly-unfair_n_3321737.html

    • IF you want to put people to work and repatriate corporate profits 15% on pi, ci, pr.

      Any further tax increases will force more escapism and higher unemployment.

      • No you’re going to explain the tax system to us? Can’t wait.

      • steve kelly

        Swede,

        The percentages I suggested are portions of total tax revenues, not tax rates per sector. Didn’t mean to mislead you. “The Chart” shows how these categories have fluctuated over decades.

        If you want to restructure and massively reduce total tax revenue from income I doubt that’s possible if done together.

  4. Turner

    When you concede that “elections have consequences,” Liz, are you suggesting (unlike Tokarski) that it matters how we vote? If so, are you willing to work for specific candidates? Or are they all too corrupt for you to support?

    • lizard19

      I think it matters more locally. nationally, not so much. I have said this before, by the way. personally I wouldn’t waste my time trying to get someone elected. there may be good candidates, but the system is totally corrupted by money.

    • It is often the case, Turner, that candidates do not differ on issues. It is also very easy for them to lie, as there is no accountability for lying, at least on the Democratic side. But suppose for sake of argument that I concede that candidates are people of high integrity who offer real choices.

      It is my studied opinion, Turner, that we have no basis for placing confidence in any election outcome. The machinery we use is not audited, its software is private and cannot be viewed by government officials. Election volunteers might check your ID and have you sign a ledger and give you a little flag, but beyond that have no more knowledge than anyone how or even if your vote is counted.

      As a CPA for the past decades I can confidently assert that where there is an opening for fraud, there is fraud. I have great confidence in asserting that vote counting is as fraudulent as everything else in our fake democracy.

  5. You’re right ’bout Dems having a problem with the Hildabeast.

    QOTD: “As I’ve said before, the overriding issue for me this electoral season is the corruption. Hillary has a contempt for the rules, a contempt for the law, a contempt for public accountability, transparency and open government, a contempt for the basic seemliness of official conduct in civilized societies – and a boundless appetite for cronyism, special favors, backroom deals, and protection of her associates when it comes to money, sex and everything else. The government she runs will be a sewer.” –Mark Steyn

    • We’ve a choice of parallel sewers it appears.




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