US CEO pay, bank profits, corporate cash set new records

(This is neoliberal fascism and it is accelerating under the “CHANGE” presidency of Donald Trump)

by Barry Grey, WSWS

Across the United States, workers are being told by Democrats and Republicans alike that there is “no money” for decent wages, pensions or health care. Teachers from West Virginia to Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arizona and other states are rebelling against near-poverty wages and years of school cuts only to be told by the politicians and union leaders that their demands are “unrealistic” and cannot be met.

But a series of reports on CEO pay, bank profits and corporate cash released over the past week reveal that corporate America and the financial oligarchy are wallowing in record levels of wealth. The Washington Post reported on Friday that, boosted by the tax cut for corporations and the rich passed in December, the biggest US firms “find themselves sitting on an Everest of cash,” with “profits pouring in faster than they can find productive ways to spend it.”

“As of the end of 2017,” the Post noted, “companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index were sitting on the largest cash pile in history: nearly $1.8 trillion.”

The windfall from the Trump tax cut, passed with no serious opposition from the Democrats, is not, contrary to the lies used to justify the law, going to create new, good-paying jobs and rebuild the country’s crumbing infrastructure. It is being used for stock buybacks, a parasitic squandering of the wealth produced by the labor of the working class to drive up stock prices and the portfolios of rich investors and corporate executives.

In February alone, US corporations announced a single-month record $150.7 billion in buybacks. They are expected to hit a new yearly record in 2018, surpassing the previous record of $589 billion set in 2007, the year before the Wall Street crash. Over the past 10 years, the American capitalist class has spent $5.1 trillion in stock buybacks.

To put this in perspective, the Oklahoma teachers, among the lowest-paid in the country, demanded $200 million in additional school funding to begin to address a decade of brutal cuts. The state government agreed to a mere $50 million, which the Oklahoma Education Association hailed as a “victory.”

The amount requested by the teachers represents a mere 0.01 percent of the cash being hoarded by US corporations…

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Four Levels of Illegality of the F.U.K.U.S. COALITION

The F.U.K.U.S. Coalition Strike on Syria was illegal in so many ways. Let’s count them, shall we?

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Trump Launches Attack on Syria Before Douma Psyop Falls Apart

The U.S., Britain and France all got together and launched a largely symbolic attack on Syria yesterday on behalf of our good friends in the Army of Islam. It’s a mad, mad, mad world, is it not?

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Trump tells media why he fired Rex Tillerson

The Nunes Memo and FISA Section 702: The Nunes Conundrum

While folks clamor to #ReleaseTheMemo , Devin Nunes’ “fix” to FISA Section 702 is anything but. As the official government (the ELECTED government) is shut down, the Deep State wins again.

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links available after the break

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As No One Watched, Trump Pardoned 5 Megabanks For Corruption Charges—Who He Owes Millions

by Rachel Blevins, Free Thought Project

While Americans celebrated the holidays, President Trump followed in the footsteps of his predecessors by acting in the interest of Wall Street and using the distraction to do something that was not in the best interest of the American people. He pardoned five megabanks for rampant fraud and corruption, which is especially notable because of the amount of money he owes them.

Trump has been using Deutsche Bank since the 1990s, and Financial Times has reported that he now owes the bank at least $130 million in outstanding loans secured in properties in Miami, Chicago, and Washington. However, the report claimed that the actual number is likely much larger at $300 million.

Reports claimed that Deutsche was the only bank willing to lend Trump money after his companies faced multiple bankruptcies. The relationship has continued over the years, and an analysis from the Wall Street Journal claimed that Trump has received at least $2.5 billion in loans from Deutsche Bank over the last 20 years.

There have been concerns about Trump’s ties to the bank becoming a conflict of interest, dating back to the 2016 election, and the evidence to support those concerns is now becoming clear.

During the week of Christmas, the Federal Register announced that the Trump Administration had issued waivers to Citigroup, JPMorgan, Barclays, UBS and Deutsche Bank—all megabanks facing charges of fraud and corruption.

The banks were involved in the LIBOR Scandal, in which they colluded to deliberately depress the rate at which they paid out on investments. By suppressing the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) at the beginning of an economic crisis in 2007, the megabanks were able to boost their earnings and to give their customers a false sense of security…

[read more here]

Trump Betrays his Base Again: Unleashes His Inner Globalist During Illegal Immigration Talk

by Scott Creighton

For two years this website has been warning it’s readers that President Trump is no populist. That his campaign rhetoric was a scam like the many others he ran back in the day when he was simply a silver-spooner businessman whose daddy gave him a fortune, a future and the fame he parlayed into a fake-reality TV show which was the only thing he really knew how to do: pretend to be a big time businessman.

Over the course of the past year, President Trump has flip-flopped on one campaign promise after another just like many other presidents before him. And just like all the others, the turn is always in the direction that favors neoliberal globalization. Obama did it. “W” did it. Clinton did it. Ever since “Poppy” Bush said “read my lips” those of us who are old enough to have heard his promise with our own ears have become tone deaf to the pleadings of wannabe leaders of all flavors.

Or at least we should have.

Whether it’s his promise to end ObamaCare in “the first day in office” or his non-interventionist foreign policy (“let Russia and Syria fight ISIS”) or his promise to “drain the swamp” and “lock her up”… there hardly seems to be a populist promise Donald Trump has made good on. Even his tax reform program served the interests of Big Business and the super rich at the expense of the middle class.

Trump has cut regulations making profits easier for Big Business. He has signed an executive order allowing Big Oil a free hand when it comes to their leaky pipelines. He has bombed a number of civilians overseas with the same drone program he used to criticize Obama for using. He opened the doors of the White House to Goldman Sachs to a degree that no president in the past has ever done. And he has stuffed billionaires into offices where they could undermine the government programs they are running like it’s going out of style even though we know that neoliberalism, the Washington Consensus, will never go out of style.

President Trump’s White House serves the interests of Big Business like few others have done in the past. You can put him right up there with Maggie Thatcher or Augusto Pinochet or Ronald Reagan or Bill Clinton if you like. Wall Street indicators tell you his is a historically anti-populist administration. The stock market doesn’t rush to all-time highs when a real “man of the people” is in office, a political novice can tell you that.

With all of those betrayals of his base (and more) in the record books, perhaps the most ruthless and damning happened just yesterday with a mere 10 days left of his freshman year.

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