Thursday, January 30, 2014

The 2014 State of the Union Address

President Barack Obama gave his 2014 State of the Union address. The speech was more important than the one shown last year since more people want solutions and answers to complications in the world. He spoke mainly on domestic issues and how he will grow the economy. There were his words that didn't massively attack the GOP. It was a centrist speech. He wanted to advance executive power a great deal. President Barack Obama wants to use pro-business policies to address economic problems, he still has not addressed militarist jingoism, and he listed man proposals. He spoke about income inequality. We still witness a historically unprecedented level of social inequality and mass poverty. We have a vast police state spying apparatus, and we could see a global war. He spoke before the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate (most of them are millionaires and many of them are overt representatives of the financial aristocracy and the military intelligence apparatus). He spoke about America having a booming economic recovery, the lowest unemployment rate in over five years, a rebounding housing market, and a growing manufacturing sector. Much of the unemployment rate fell because of millions of people giving up searching for job. There has been an increase of manufacturing jobs is due to the collapse of wages. He spoke about wanting to see tax breaks for corporations as a means to develop jobs in America. The two parties, he said, were agreed that, “our tax code is riddled with wasteful, complicated loopholes that punish businesses investing here, and reward companies that keep profits abroad.” He called for a lowering of corporate tax rates, with media reports indicating that this might be as much as 7 percentage points. Detroit is in bankruptcy (with the elite forcing deep cuts in pensions, infrastructure, and other social rights) despite growth of manufacturing jobs. Many manufacturing companies like GM and Detroit Manufacturing System hire workers at a fraction of their former wages. His call for universal Pre-K is fine with me. I have no issue with that. The President has continued to allow money to funnel into Wall Street. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon (a huge bank) is unpunished despite his company's repeated, documented criminal activities. He received a 74 percent pay raise. He called for equal pay for equal work for women, which I have no issue with. He is right on that point. He wanted 1.6 million people to have unemployment benefits, but reforming them, which could mean greater restrictions on eligibility. The president was also silent on the Democrats and Republicans having just agreed to slash $8.7 billion from food stamps, only the second cut in the program since it was founded (the first coming just a few months ago). He touted a pro-Bush Jr. Reactionary immigration reform plan and his health care overhaul, an opening shot against all the social programs introduced in the 1930s and 1960s. He signed an executive order of a minimum wage of $10.10. I have no issue with this, but the problem is that only deals with new contracts among federal contractors not all workers. Obama heaped praise on the military, citing a plan for the long-term presence of tens of thousands of US troops in Afghanistan, insisting that the danger from Al Qaeda remains and threatening countries around the world. He welcomed recent moves from the Iranian regime to accommodate the demands of American imperialism and threatened that if Tehran fails to toe the line, war remains an option. The President talked about health care and the ACA, which is inferior to universal health care. He allied for focusing on the Asia-Pacific, which is about the pivot to Asia agenda (as a means to counter China's hegemony in the region). The reactionaries in the GOP should have blame in causing many of these problems, but even the White House should have accountability for its actions. So, the State of the Union speech by President Barack Obama was a mixture of legitimate ideals and many status quo centrist ideals including error filled ideals too (history proves that the status quo doesn't work, but revolutionary solutions). The President omits the evil agenda of the TPP too. Tax cuts alone for the super-rich are never a real JOBS plan. A real jobs plans deals with comprehensive public action to grow the economy, fight for full employment, and give people a livable wage. Select corporations dominate governmental policies now in favor of the interests of the 1%. When a Democratic controlled Congress came during this administration, there was no increase of the minimum wage, no end to the Empire, and other real solutions to our issues were not instituted as well. He or the President wants private companies to be encouraged to get money to grow the economy. Yet, if the private sector can never grow the economy by itself and they hoard trillions of dollars in wealth by themselves, then we need to find alternative solutions. There should be massive public initiatives to solve our problems. The vast majority of Americans want an increase of the minimum wage. I do too. The State of the Union is filled with uncertainty and we have the right to keep it real and fight for justice. 

One lie is that the effective U.S. corporate tax rate is the highest in the industrialized world. Republicans blame the corporate tax rate for discouraging job creation. The U.S. has a high statutory corporate tax rate or the rate on paper, but U.S. corporations actually pay incredibly low taxes due to the proliferating of loopholes, credits, and deductions in the tax code. There is also the usage of overseas tax havens. The U.S. corporate taxes were actually paid or the effective rate fell to a 40 year low of 12.1 percent in the fiscal year of 2011. The corporate profits have rebounded to their pre-Great Recession heights. The U.S. both taxes its corporations less and raises less in revenue from corporate taxes than its foreign competitors. America raises much less from corporate taxes than other countries. U.S. corporations pay a smaller share of their profits in income tax than corporations in most other OECD countries. As billionaire investor Warren Buffett has said, “it is a myth” that U.S. corporate taxes are high. “Corporate taxes are not strangling American competitiveness,” Buffett added. Even some Republicans refuse to follow a centrist approach of lowering the U.S. corporate income tax rate while simultaneously raising revenue to help reduce the federal deficit by closing loopholes and cracking down on tax havens. Corporate profits are at record breaking high and corporate taxes are at a 40 year low. If you look at the actual amount corporation pay in taxes after loopholes, deductions, etc. instead of 35% that's on paper, the U.S. has the third lowest corporate tax rate among developed nations at just 12.1%. The U.S. gets significantly less in revenue from corporate taxes than other nations. has much more research on this issue. Small businesses pick up the tab for multinational corporations. Many extremists who talk about supporting the interests of tax dodging corporations want cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. One Apple executive said to the NY Times said the sick comment that giants multinationals "don't have an obligation to solve America's problems." American corporations are holdings $1.7 trillion in profits outside the country. It is just sitting there. That money is not being used to build new factories, new research facilities, and new equipment to benefit Americans. The LIFT organization wants this neoliberal agenda of massive tax cuts for super rich corporations and they are aided by the Koch Foundation. They rely on videos and materials from the Tax Foundation and the Manhattan Institute. We see that corporate tax revenue accounted for 30.5 percent of federal revenue in 1953. By 2011, the share of corporate tax revenue had fallen to 7.9 percent. We had a top U.S. corporate tax rate historically as high as 53 percent and 46 percent when Reagan took office. It was reduced from the current 35.6 percent to 25 percent or a reduction of about 30%. Between 2008 and 2011 (according to Mother Jones), there are 26 major American corporations that paid no net federal income taxes despite bringing billions in profits. This is found in research from the nonprofit research group Citizens for Tax Justice. The CTJ found that if the companies had paid the full 35 percent corporate tax rate, they would have put more than $78 billion into government coffers. Google even has 9.8 billion dollars in revenue in Bermuda back in 2011. There are real solutions to create jobs. Corporations are sitting on almost 2 trillion dollars of cash that they have. The 1000 largest U.S. corporations alone are hoarding almost $1 trillion. They are not investing in expansion per se. They are just buying back their own stocks or raising dividends. Many corporations are creating more jobs abroad than in the U.S. There should be prosecutions of criminal banks. There should be the expansion of mortgage relief programs and the punishment of predatory lenders. There should be a restoration of educational budgets and to improve our educational system. There should be a rising of the minimum wage as most Americans agree to. Even if most Americans opposed it, it is still morally right to increase the minimum wage nationally (as some states are doing). There should be the ending of the Bush tax cuts for the super wealthy costing trillions of dollars (and when the wealthy are paying historically low tax rates). There should be a crackdown of offshore tax shelters. Some even want a Wall Street speculation fee as a means to gain revenue and reduce the deficit by $350 billion over ten years. There can be a progressive estate tax. We can reduce defense spending and eliminate loopholes in the tax code. 

The Trans-Pacific Partnership agenda has been discussed massively in the world. There is the future North American Leaders Summit. It will be held in Toluca, Mexico on February 19. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry recently held a meeting with his Canadian and Mexican counterparts. In the past years, there has been not as much attention given to the trilateral relationship. The USA worked in a dual-bilateral approach with both Canada and Mexico on key issues including border and continental perimeter security (including regulatory and energy cooperation). There has been the NAFTA partnership, which has grown the North American integration movement. On January 17, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry hosted the North American Ministerial with Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird and Mexican Foreign Secretary Jose Antonio Meade. The discussions related to the issues of regulatory, energy, trade relations, including border infrastructure and management. This meeting prepared for the February North American Leaders Summit. It will include the participation of U.S. President Barack Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. During a press conference, a reporter asked about reopening NAFTA in order to update it. Secretary Kerry answered, “the TPP, is a very critical component of sort of moving to the next tier, post-NAFTA. So I don’t think you have to open up NAFTA, per se, in order to achieve what we’re trying to achieve.” Minister Baird added, “We believe that NAFTA’s been an unqualified success, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations, which all three of us are in, offer us the opportunity to strengthen the trilateral partnership.” Secretary Meade also chimed in, “We do not think it is necessary to reopen NAFTA, but we think we have to build on it to construct and revitalize the idea of a dynamic North America.” The Miami Herald in December 2013 reported that the Obama administration, “is exploring a regional trade plan for the Americas that would be the most ambitious hemispheric initiative in years.” It went on to say that Secretary of State John Kerry, “would like to first seek an agreement to deepen the existing North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Mexico and Canada, and to expand it afterward to the rest of Latin America.” According to some of Kerry’s top aides, “the plan to relaunch NAFTA could come as early as February, when President Barack Obama is scheduled to meet with his Mexican and Canadian counterparts at a North American Leaders’ Summit in Mexico.” The recent article, U.S. lays out goals for NAFTA cautioned that, “the shared goal of a NAFTA 2.0 that wins fresh, sustainable gains for Canada, Mexico and the U.S., the Americans warn, is unlikely to come in a single, dramatic and easily digestible sound byte.” It further noted that, “Instead, the Americans are urging a more realistic approach aimed at reviving trilateral momentum, with a dogged diplomatic effort that aggressively fine-tunes, streamlines and expands the trade pact.” Back in 2013, many business leaders in North America released policy recommendations to deal with continental economic integration and competitiveness. There was a letter sent to President Barack Obama. It called for greater trilateral government areas in dealing with intelligent border system, regulatory standards and practices, as well as North American energy security and sustainability. The letter was also issued to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Enrique Pena Nieto, the Business Roundtable, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and the Consejo Mexicano de Hombres de Negocios. The business organizations explained that, “More can and should be done to promote regulatory cooperation between our three countries, to facilitate the legitimate movement of people, goods and services.” They emphasized that the time to act was now and that their specific proposals would, “help deepen our economic ties, strengthen the international competitiveness of Canadian, Mexican, and U.S. companies and their workers, and realize North American energy self-reliance.” Their goal is to create a seamless North American market. There was the third annual North American Competitiveness and Innovation Conference in October 2013. Government officials, trade experts and leaders wanted to boost NAFTA ties. There were leaders who represented the private and academic sectors from all 3 nations in the meeting as well. They wanted to have a roadmap to develop more trade and economic tis for the next 20 years. There are TPP negotiations occurring now too. In the report North American Competitiveness: The San Diego Agenda, Laura Dawson, Christopher Sands, and Duncan Wood examine the evolution of the NAFTA and provide a blueprint for deepening trilateral integration. The report deals with further integration in Mexico, the U.S., and Canada. The report stated that, “North America’s future demands deeper integration of our economies and streamlined cross-border processes. Essential elements in ensuring long-term competitiveness include infrastructure spending, energy cooperation, investing in human capital formation, increasing labor mobility and labor market flexibility, regulatory cooperation and more efficient border management.” So, these groups want bilateralism in the short storm and trilateralism in the long term. So, NAFTA is being used as an excuse for the elites to advocate more trilateral collaboration in North America. We witness that 20 years after NAFTA has been detrimental to the economies of the world. That is why others want future trade agreements. We see the TPP negotiations that are underway. The TPP wants to deal with the NAFTA failed model in more countries. The TPP is a real threat in the world. 

There is more research about the Butler movie that should be known. The Butler was film based on the life of Eugene Allen. Eugene Allen was an African American who worked in the White House for 34 years from the days of President Harry Truman to the second term of Ronald Reagan. The movie tried to encompass the period form the mid 1920's to the election of President Barack Obama in 2008. The story deals with encounters between a black worker and the upper echelons of the American political elite. Eugene Allen in real life did not grow up in a farm in Georgia. He was born in a segregated town in central Virginia. He suffered a lot of racism and discrimination in his life. He worked as a waiter in a white only resorts and country clubs.  In the Haygood article, Allen says, “We never had anything. I was always hoping things would get better.” His suffered the evils of racism and Jim Crow in the South. The evils of racism and Jim Crow were the functions of race and class. These items were instituted to harm the rights of black people and exploit the poverty of humanity among many backgrounds. Violent atrocities committed by maddened racists were commonplace. Allen's wife Helene was never an alcoholic or committed adultery against her husband. In addition, Eugene and Helene had only one son, Charles, who was never a Freedom Rider or Black Panther. He did go to Vietnam, but survived (unlike his cinematic counterpart) and went on to work for the US State Department. The movie's depictions of the black White House staff dealt with their economic oppression. The filmmakers carefully depict how these workers perform their duties, in the course of which they reveal their frustration with their demeaning conditions. (When Eugene Allen started at the White House, he was a “pantry man” washing dishes and polishing silverware. The job paid $2,400 a year [$20,800 in 2013 dollars], compared to the national average wage of $3,400). The movie deals with the evolution of the civil rights movement. It touched on well-known events and ended with the 2008 Presidential election. There was nothing shown about the August 1963 march on Washington—the largest integrated demonstration that had ever taken place in the nation’s capital.  It shows the assassination of Dr. King in April of 1968, but it also shown a video of Jesse Jackson talking about the killing. Jesse Jackson is now the Democratic Party operative. Now, we know that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in a turning point of his life. He started to see the truth that the struggles of black people in America were linked to the working class in the world (and that we should fight for social justice at home and we should oppose imperialism. He spoke out forcefully and courageously against the Vietnam War). The night before his assassination, King told a group of striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee: “We’ve got to give ourselves to this struggle until the end. Nothing would be more tragic than to stop at this point in Memphis. We’ve got to see it through.” This spirit of struggle is shown in The Butler, but it has omitted important parts of the struggle. Eugene Allen has an unique life that should be known, but the film deals with many omissions. The reality is that the sacrifices of made by human beings in the civil rights struggle ought to be remembered and that struggle didn't end with the election of Barack Obama (who is a center left politician with some of the most reactionary, anti-democratic foreign policy positions in the past 25 years). There is sympathy for Nixon’s downfall as shown in the film and, after all, Reagan was a good sort—didn’t Nancy Reagan (Jane Fonda) invite Cecil and Gloria to a state dinner as guests, not servants? The movie has an interesting scene where Nixon talked in promotion of black capitalism (as a means to end the Black Panther movement), which was a detriment to black America. That ideology caused the emergence of conservative, self-absorbed petty bourgeois constituencies. Also, some in the black middle class was exploited as a means to be part of the new "left" constituency for American imperialism. The movie at the end describes the Presidency of Barack Obama. Barack Obama is viewed as the culmination of many of the events of the civil rights movement. Barack Obama is part of the Dream. He is not the fulfillment of the Dream. Also, he is the spokesman of the elite showing a reactionary, pro-Wall Street, militarist agenda in the world. So, when you look at real history, we can always respect the struggle of black humanity. Also, we should know that the struggle is not ever and we should continue to fight for justice. 

I think that the Cheerios commercial has the right to exist. Anyone that who uses disrespect against a child or children in a commercial has very low character to begin with. Regardless of the background of any human being, any human being should be treated succinctly with dignity and with respect. I think that also black people should have the right to love their heritage and to affirm their dignity too in the world. There is nothing wrong with Black Love and the expression of it publicly and in private. A commercial shows Black Love among a father and a mother (with children) is fine. It is a shame that we don't see many commercials or shows now that describes the strong essence of BLACK LOVE. Anyone being racist or bigoted against any individual in the commercial just harbors serious insecurities about themselves. We can't be naive about racism too. In order to defeat racism, we have to fight it. We have to fight discrimination and we have to oppose injustices found in the current power structure. We should never beg white people for social acceptance or acting like white people are morally superior to us. We should affirm our self determination to grow our own institutions and courageously express ourselves in a righteous fashion irrespective of how any non-black person thinks. Black people should know that we are A GREAT PEOPLE created from GOD WITH THE DARKEST MELANIN IN HUMAN HISTORY. We have to stand up for justice and educate humanity on the value of black people. We should continue to stand up for human civil liberties, for anti-imperialism, for economic justice, for the defense of Nature (or the environment), and for true human justice. We have to fight the system of white supremacy in multifaceted ways. We have to confront the system of institutions of white supremacists (excluding hating each other. We have to reject the evil ideologies of mainstream society. The program of white supremacy advances self-hate & black degradation and we should advance true LOVE FOR ourselves and our communities. Some ignorant folks want to hate their own people, but are afraid to stand up against white racists). We have to defend and protect our people, especially the children and the elderly. We have to realize to expose the thugs of corporate criminals, crooked police officers, intelligence agency spies monitoring even innocent human beings, exploiters from the prison industrial complex, imperialists, and other criminals who act as instruments of white supremacy. All of these criminals are true THUGS and they reflect the greed, the unnatural activities, the selfishness, and the materialism of the current white supremacy power structure. IN ESSENCE, THE THUG NATURE OF WHITE SUPREMACY exploits black humanity (who are used as scapegoats for massive evils in the world society) as a means to maintain the current system. We can never solve anything without knowing what we are up against and the origin of our problems in the first place. Irrespective our degrees, titles, occupations, etc. if we don't take the time to help our people & fight evil in an aggressive, righteous fashion, then we can never see justice. We have to expose the CONDITIONS on why things are in the first place. That is why the 1% is heavily involved in the creation of the nefarious conditions of the 99% (filled with record income inequality, poverty, etc.). WE HAVE TO KNOW OURSELVES and love MORALITY as well. We have to thrive for excellence in our conduct and maintain a strong MORAL CODE in our daily lives. That means that we should improve our lives. Males and females should act upright, be moral, and act righteously. We should have individual responsibility in our lives. We should be made accountable for our actions. We should never justify evil action done by black people or non-black people. We can't just correct our lives and our morality, but we have to correct THE CONDITIONS IN THE FIRST PLACE (created by the SYSTEM) AND CORRECT THE MINDSET OF SELF HATE AND OTHER EVILS THAT EXISTS IN SOME BLACK PEOPLE. WE HAVE TO REJECT THE REINFORCEMENTS OF OUR OPPRESSION & WE HAVE TO REJECT FALSE STEREOTYPES. WE HAVE TO UPLIFT BROTHERS AND SISTERS. We have to give folks opportunities for folks to see that they can be better in society. We should never be limited in our dreams based on CONDITIONS. In the final analysis, we have to treat our neighbors as ourselves. These are the points that I wanted to make. 

By Timothy

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