In ‘Orwellian’ Press Briefing, Huckabee Sanders Defends Trump’s Repeated Tax Rate Lie

Since announcing his 2016 presidential run, Trump has been incorrectly claiming at rallies and in interviews that Americans pay the highest tax rates in the world

October 10, 2017 (CommonDreams.org.)

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders dismissed a reporter’s question about the president’s repeated misleading statements about tax rates. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

In an exchange one journalist described as “Orwellian,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders doubled down in her Tuesday press briefing on President Donald Trump’s repeated lie that the U.S. is the “highest-taxed nation in the world”—clarifying that when he says that, he’s talking about the corporate tax rate even though that is not what he says time and time again.

A reporter from One America News pushed back, but Huckabee Sanders insisted there was no discrepancy between Trump’s statements and the truth. Ultimately she told the reporter they would just have to “agree to disagree” on whether two different claims were actually the same thing.

Trump most recently made the claim in a televised appearance in the Oval Office just before the press briefing. He also said it in an interview over the weekend on Mike Huckabee’s talk show on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, in a tweet last month, in campaign speeches during the 2016 election, and at rallies in Youngstown, Ohio and Cedar Rapids, Iowa this year.

During the presidential campaign, the Pew Research Center found that Americans pay less in taxes than most developed nations. The Tax Policy Center has also found that tax revenue makes up only about 26 percent of the United States’ GDP. In countries with strong social welfare programs, like Sweden, France, and Finland, citizens pay far more.

While the nominal corporate tax rate for U.S. corporations is higher compared to many other developed nations, the effective rate—due to loopholes, deductions, and other tax avoidance schemes written into the tax code—keeps effective rates exceedingly low. Despite that, Trump continues to claim they are unduly high while repeatedly suggesting in front of non-corporate audiences that his main concern is with lowering American families’ tax rates.

A number of journalists and Trump critics denounced Huckabee Sanders’s characterization of the matter as a simple difference of opinion between the reporter and the White House—rather than a question of misleading statements by the president.

Los Angeles Public Bank effort gains more steam

171010_LA_city_meeting.jpg

From left: Paul Stanton; Senior Policy Deputy, Anna Hovasapian LA City Councilmember Paul Krekorian; Marc Armstrong, Commonomics USA; Ellen Brown, PBI; Wolfram Morales, Sparkasse (East German Savings Bank Association); David Jette, Public Bank LA

Strong steps taken by LA City Council toward a Public Bank for Los Angeles have drawn a good deal of media attention, including coverage by the local CBS affiliate. The Ad Hoc Committee on Comprehensive Job Creation Plan began to debate the issue last Wednesday, Oct 4.

Following the successful Sept 29 meeting that took place between interested Councilmembers, legislative directors and Public Banking experts, Ellen Brown was invited to attend the Ad Hoc Committee and explain how a Bank of Los Angeles can be feasible, profitable and beneficial for the city’s residents.

The Ad Hoc Committee panel included the City’s Attorney Office, City Administrative Officer, Chief Legislative Officer, and PBI’s Ellen Brown.

As a result of the discussion, Chairman Krekorian moved to instruct the City Attorney’s Office and the CLA to report back on:

  • the legal requirements and constraints of forming a municipal bank
  • legislative and legal barriers
  • regulatory barriers at federal, state and local level, and
  • the benefits and potential risks of public banking model in the US and international models including the German Sparkassen example

In addition, the Chairman also instructed the City Attorney and CLA to report back on the potential for investing in:

  • affordable housing
  • infrastructure
  • economic development purposes, including small business developments
  • servicing the cannabis industry, and
  • student loans

PBI and the Public Bank LA team are excited to see LA City Council moving forward strongly toward creating the first municipal bank in the United States. We are making history. 

19 Industries The Blockchain Will Disrupt


The blockchain is a distributed ledger technology that underlies cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. It provides a way to record and transfer data that is transparent, safe, auditable, and resistant to outages. The blockchain has the ability to make the organizations that use it transparent, democratic, decentralized, efficient, and secure. It’s a technology that holds a lot of promise for the future, and it is already disrupting many industries.

One City One Book: “Black Against Empire”

“The Black Panther party rejected the legitimacy of the U.S. government and positioned itself as part of a global struggle against American imperialism.

One City One Book: Black Against Empire

The San Francisco Public Library sponsors this program: we all read the book, and there are related films, discussion groups, speakers, etc.
The book will be available at the libraries around the city, and in bookstores around the city as well.
Check it out…
Sorry some of it’s over, but there are upcoming events too, at the library and around the City.

https://sfpl.org/?pg=2000995301

One City One Book – 2017

One City One Book 2017 banner
         

book coverSan Francisco Public Library is excited to announce that the 13th Annual One City One Book selection is Black against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party by Joshua Bloom and Waldo E. Martin, Jr.

Black against Empire is the first comprehensive overview and analysis of the history and politics of the Black Panther Party.

Bloom and Martin analyze key political questions, such as why so many young black people across the country risked their lives for the revolution, why the party grew most rapidly during the height of repression, and why allies abandoned the party at its peak of influence.

Bold, engrossing, and richly detailed, the book cuts through the mythology and obfuscation, revealing the political dynamics that drove the explosive growth of this revolutionary movement and its disastrous unraveling.

Black against Empire, published by the University of California Press, is the winner of the American Book Award. The book has been banned by the CA Department of Corrections and CA inmates are currently forbidden to possess or read it.

Read Black against Empire this summer and join us in the fall for the 13th Annual One City One Book program extravaganza.

Copies of Black against Empire will be featured in all San Francisco libraries and at bookstores around the city.

During September and October,  join book discussions, view themed exhibits, attend author talks and participate in many other events.

About the Authors

  • Joshua Bloom is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh. He studies the dynamics by which different kinds of insurgent practice transform society in different political situations. He is the coeditor of Working for Justice: The L.A. Model of Organizing and Advocacy. Before becoming a scholar, he worked many years as an organizer, mostly in the San Francisco Bay Area.
  • Waldo E. Martin, Jr., is Alexander F. and May T. Morrison Professor of History and Citizenship at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of No Coward Soldiers: Black Cultural Politics in Postwar AmericaBrown v. Board of Education: A Brief History with Documents, and The Mind of Frederick Douglass.

(Submitted by Ruthie Sakheim)

“The growing irrelevance of President Trump” by Robert Reich

Announcement: Donald Trump is no longer the president of the United States

SOURCE:  NationofChange

Announcement: Donald Trump is no longer the president of the United States

Oh sure, he has the title and he has the bully pulpit – from which he’s bullying everyone from NBA players to people protesting white supremacists to DACA kids.

But he’s not actively governing the United States. That work is happening elsewhere – in Congress, the courts, the Fed, the career civil service, lobbyists, and in the states. Or it’s not happening at all.

It’s not just that Trump lost the epic battle to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Trump never understood the Affordable Care Act to begin with, and played no part in developing Republican alternatives.

The budget Trump submitted to Congress in March was dead on arrival. House Republicans ignored Trump’s request for $54 billion in cuts to departments and agencies and decided instead to cut non-defense spending by just $5 billion, and explode the defense budget.

The 9-page tax plan congressional Republicans and Trump unveiled last week only vaguely resembles Trump’s original tax proposal from April, and all the important decisions have been left to the tax-writing committees of Congress.

Trump’s relations with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan have become so strained they have no interest in looping him into policies before they have to.

Meanwhile, Trump has run out of Obama executive orders he can declare void. Major regulations, such as the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, can’t just be repealed. They have to go through a legal process that could take years.

Trump doesn’t seem to be aware of this. He told a cheering crowd in Alabama recently that he had ended the Clean Power Plan by executive order. “Did you see what I did to that? Boom, gone.”

Nope. The EPA will soon reveal its strategy for reversing the Plan, but whatever it is, environmental groups are almost certain to appeal it in the courts. Big businesses and utilities, fearing that the courts may rule against the administration, are lobbying the EPA to come up with a replacement rather than try to eliminate the Plan altogether.

Although General John Kelly has reduced White House chaos somewhat, the firings and shakeups are unremitting.

Trump’s Cabinet secretaries don’t seem to have a clue. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos still wants to spend taxpayer money on for-profit schools and colleges that cheat their students. Won’t happen. The EPA’s Scott Pruitt is trying to strip the agency of scientists. Another brainless scheme.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin still has no idea how to deal with Congress. He tried to persuade Republican House members to support Trump’s budget deal with the Democrats by asking them to do it “for me.”

Health and Human Service Secretary Tom Price wasn’t fired for his ethical breaches. If ethics were the criteria, most of the Trump administration would be gone. Price broke Trump’s cardinal rule, which was never to get bad headlines for Trump.

Top echelons of departments and agencies are still empty. Trump has said “in many cases, we don’t want to fill those jobs,” which means decisions are being made by career civil servants and industry lobbyists.

By the start of September, more than a third of the leadership positions at the Federal Emergency Management Agency were still vacant. Not a good way to begin hurricane season. Puerto Rico, anyone?

As of mid-September, out of 599 key government positions that require Senate confirmation, Trump had made only 159 nominations, according to The Washington Post. Trump had yet to submit nominations for 320 positions.

Trump’s political clout is waning among Republicans. He couldn’t even get his pick elected to a Senate primary in Alabama, a state bulging with Trump voters.

Business leaders have deserted him over his remarks over Charlottesville. NFL owners have turned on him over his remarks about players. Tom Brady, who once called Trump “a good friend,” now calls him “divisive” and “wrong.”

Don’t get me wrong. Trump is still a dangerous showman and conman – tweeting condemnations of critics and ranting before friendly crowds at his never-ending campaign rallies. He continues to fuel bigotry and meanness. He has reduced America’s standing in the world. His outbursts could start a nuclear war.

But when it comes to the actual work of governing America, Trump is becoming utterly and completely irrelevant.

This article was originally published on Robert Reich’s blog.

The economic and historical significance of the Mondragon Corporation

The Mondragon Corporation is a corporation and federation of worker cooperatives based in the Basque region of Spain. It was founded in the town of Mondragoe in 1956 by graduates of a local technical college. Its first product was paraffin heaters. It is the tenth-largest Spanish company in terms of asset turnover and the leading business group in the Basque Country. At the end of 2014, it employed 74,117 people in 257 companies and organizations in four areas of activity: finance, industry, retail and knowledge. By 2015, 74,335 people were employed.

Mondragon cooperatives operate in accordance with the Statement on the Co-operative Identity maintained by the International Co-operative Alliance.

History

In 1941, a young Catholic priest, José María Arizmendiarrieta settled in Mondragón, a town with a population of 7,000 that had not yet recovered from the poverty, hunger, exile, and tension of the Spanish Civil War. In 1943, Arizmendiarrieta established a technical college which became a training ground for managers, engineers and skilled labour for local companies, and primarily for the co-operatives. Arizmendiarrieta spent a number of years educating young people about a form of humanism based on solidarity and participation, in harmony with Catholic social teaching, and the importance of acquiring the necessary technical knowledge before creating the first co-operative. In 1955, he selected five young people to set up the first company of the co-operative and industrial beginning of the Mondragon Corporation. The company was called Talleres Ulgor, an acronym derived from the surnames of Usatorre, Larrañaga, Gorroñogoitia, Ormaechea, and Ortubay, known today as “Fagor Electrodomésticos“.

In the first 15 years many co-operatives were established, thanks to the autarky of the market and the awakening of the Spanish economy. During these years, also with the encouragement of Don José María, the Caja Laboral (1959) and the Social Welfare Body Lagun Aro (1966) were set up that were to play a key role. The first local group was created, Ularco. In 1969, Eroski was founded by merging ten small local consumer co-operatives.

During the next 20 years, from 1970 to 1990, the dynamic continued, with a strong increase in new co-operatives promoted by Caja Laboral’s Business Division, the promotion of co-operative associations, the formation of local groups, and the founding of the Ikerlan Research Centre in 1974.

When Spain was scheduled to join the European Economic Community in 1986, it was decided in 1984 to set up the “Mondragon Co-operative Group”, the forerunner to the current corporation. In-service training for managers was strengthened by creating Otalora, dedicated to training and to dissemination of co-operatives. The Group consisted of 23,130 workers at the end of 1990.

On the international stage, the aim was to respond to growing globalisation, expanding abroad by setting up production plants in a number of countries. The first was the Copreci plant in Mexico in 1990, followed by many others: up to 73 by the end of 2008, and 122 at the end of 2013. The goals were to increase competitiveness and market share, bring component supply closer to customers’ plants, especially in the automotive and domestic appliance sectors, and to strengthen employment in the Basque Country by promoting exports of co-operatives’ products by means of new platforms.

In October 2009, the United Steelworkers announced an agreement with Mondragon to create worker cooperatives in the United States.  On March 26, 2012, the USW, Mondragon, and the Ohio Employee Ownership Center (OEOC) announced its detailed union co-op model.

The industry component ended 2012 with a new record €4 billion in international sales, beating sales figures from before the financial crisis of 2007-2008. Mondragon opened 11 new production subsidiaries. International sales that year accounted for 69% of all sales, a 26% increase from 2009 to 2012, and with 14,000 employees abroad. Mondragon’s share in the BRIC markets increased to 20% compared to the previous year. In 2013, international sales grew by 6.7% and accounted for 71.1% of total sales.

On 16 October 2013, domestic appliance company Fagor Electrodomésticos filed for bankruptcy under Spanish law in order to renegotiate €1,1 billion of debt, after suffering heavy losses during the eurocrisis and as a consequence of poor financial management, putting 5,600 employees at risk of losing their jobs. This was followed by the bankruptcy of the whole Fagor group on 6 November 2013. In July 2013, Fagor was bought by Catalan company Cata for €42.5 million. Cata pledged to create 705 direct jobs in the Basque Country and to continue the brand names Fagor, Edesa, Aspes, and Splendid.

More at:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mondragon_Corporation

OccupyForum presents . . . Society for the Many: A report-back from the inaugural People’s Congress of Resistance

OccupyForum presents…

Monday, October 9th, 2017 from 6:45 – 9 pm at the Black and Brown Social Club

474 Valencia between 15th and 16th Street near 16th Street BART

Information, discussion, & community! Monday Night Forum!!

OccupyForum is an opportunity for open and respectful dialogue

on all sides of these critically important issues!

Society for the Many:

A report-back from the inaugural

People’s Congress of Resistance

“Millions of people desire a political revolution against the billionaire class. The interest in socialism has grown rapidly in the last two years. The will to create a more just and equal society, the will to revolution, grows daily. The People’s Congress of Resistance was assembled to give voice and vision to this revolution. What kind of world do we want? What kind of society is worth fighting for?

 The question contains its answer. The kind of society worth fighting for is one organized for society’s own good, for the equality and emancipation of the many. It is a society that replaces oppression with self-determination. It is a society that meets people’s needs. It is a society that protects the land, water and well-being of the planet. It is a society where people welcome the future with solidarity and hope. Today the vast wealth produced collectively by the many is in the hands of the very few. Today these few destroy our common planet for their own private profit. Today too many see nothing but misery ahead. If we are to care for our environment and provide for our common lives and futures, what working people have created through their collective labor must become theirs.”

 ­– ­From the Manifesto

On Sept. 16-17, the People’s Congress of Resistance movement was inaugurated with a mass convening of grassroots organizers and frontline resistors at Howard University. All told, 727 delegates from 38 states and 160 towns and cities came to Washington, D.C., to discuss the People’s Congress of Resistance manifesto “Society for the Many: A Vision for Revolution,” to share organizing experiences to take back home, to express solidarity with each other and to resolve on common projects and actions for the future.

Local activists, Nick Pardee and Michelle Schudel, who traveled to the Inaugural event in Washington D.C. will give a report-back on their experience and what’s next for the People’s Congress of Resistance.

http://www.congressofresistance.org/inaugural_people_s_congress_of_resistance_draws_together_grassroots_leaders_unified_by_a_revolutionary_vision

http://www.congressofresistance.org/

http://www.congressofresistance.org/resolutions_from_the_2017_congress

Time will be allotted for discussion and announcements.

Donations to Occupy Forum to cover costs are encouraged; no one turned away!

Participatory budgeting and the City of Porto Alegre, Brazil

Participatory budgeting

A feature of public administration in Porto Alegre is the adoption of a system of popular participation in the definition of public investment, called the Participatory Budget. The first full participatory budgeting process was developed in the city starting in 1989. Participatory budgeting in its most meaningful form took place in the city from 1991 to 2004. Participatory budgeting was part of a number of innovative reform programs to overcome severe inequality in living standards amongst city residents. One third of the city’s residents lived in isolated slums at the city outskirts, lacking access to public amenities (water, sanitation, health care facilities, and schools).

Participatory budgeting in Porto Alegre has occurred annually, starting with a series of neighborhood, regional, and citywide assemblies, where residents and elected budget delegates identify spending priorities and vote on which priorities to implement. Porto Alegre spent about 200 million dollars per year on construction and services, This money is subject to participatory budgeting, unlike the annual spending on fixed expenses such as debt service and pensions, which is not subject to public participation. Around fifty thousand residents of Porto Alegre took part at the peak of the participatory budgeting process (compared to 1.5 million city inhabitants), with the number of participants having grown year on year since 1989. Participants are from diverse economic and political backgrounds.[48][49] Although participatory budgeting appears to continue in the city today, two prominent scholars on the process have stated that “after the defeat of the Workers’ Party in late 2004, a politically conservative coalition maintained the surface features of PB while returning the actual functioning of the administration to more traditional modes of favor-trading and the favoring of local elites.”[46]

The participatory budgeting cycle starts in January and runs throughout the year in many assemblies in each of the city’s 16 districts, dealing with many areas of interest to urban life. The meetings elect delegates to represent specific neighborhoods. The mayor and staff attend, in order to respond to citizens’ concerns. In the following months, delegates meet to review technical project criteria and district needs.

Administrative Center of Rio Grande do Sul.

City department staff may participate according to their area of expertise. At a second regional plenary, regional delegates prioritize the district’s demands and elect 42 councillors representing all districts and thematic areas to serve on the Municipal Council of the Budget. The main function of the Municipal Council of the Budget is to reconcile the demands of each district with available resources, and to propose and approve an overall municipal budget. The resulting budget is binding, though the city council can suggest, but not require, changes. Only the Mayor may veto the budget, or remand it back to the Municipal Council of the Budget (this has never happened).

World Bank paper suggests that participatory budgeting has led to direct improvements in facilities in Porto Alegre. For example, sewer and water connections increased from 75% of households in 1988 to 98% in 1997. The number of schools quadrupled since 1986. According to Fedozzi and Costa, this system has been recognized as a successful experience of interaction between people and the official administrative spheres in public administration and, as such, has gained a broad impact on the political scene nationally and internationally, being interpreted as a strategy for the establishment of an active citizenship in Brazil. The distribution of investment resources planning that follows a part of the statement of priorities for regional or thematic meetings, culminating with the approval of an investment plan that works and activities program broken down by investment sector, by region and around the city. Also according to Fedozzi, this favors:

The high number of participants, after more than a decade, suggests that participatory budgeting encourages increasing citizen involvement, according to the paper. Also, Porto Alegre’s health and education budget increased from 13% (1985) to almost 40% (1996), and the share of the participatory budget in the total budget increased from 17% (1992) to 21% (1999).

More at:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porto_Alegre

“Does The Establishment Know Anarchy Is The Answer?” with Russell Brand


This week I’m joined by Carne Ross, a former high-flying diplomat and Middle East adviser who lost his faith in western democracy but put his trust in people power and is now putting forward the case for anarchism.
Anarchist.
Former Occupier.
Author of “The Leaderless Revolution.”

Front Cover
The Leaderless Revolution explains why our government institutions are inadequate to the task of solving major problems and offers a set of steps we can take to create lasting and workable solutions ourselves. In taking these steps, we can not only reclaim the control we have lost, but also a sense of meaning and community so elusive in the current circumstance. In a day and age when things feel bleak and beyond our control, this powerful and personal book will revive one’s sense of hope that a better, more just and equitable order lies within our reach-if only we are willing to grasp it.