Trivia 102

It's time to look, once again, at the depths to which a once nearly great nation has been allowed to sink. I don't know about you but these articles tend to depress the heck out of me. Nevertheless, if we don't realize the horrors our government visits upon us, we will find ourselves sinking even lower into the abyss they so love to inflict on us.

Let's begin.

Still think that campaign finance reform (a "reform" the Republicans truly hate) isn't necessary? Consider this; 80% of all campaign contributions from individuals in the 1996 election cycle came from the top one quarter of one percent (.25%) of America's wealthiest people. Do you still wonder why neither party cares one whit about you or your family?

Okay, now let's look at that wonder of overt lies that constituted the Republican's 1997 tax bill.

The end result of that bit legendary nastiness is that 75% of all tax breaks went to people making over $100,000 and 33% went to the wealthiest 1% of all Americans. In fact, that top 1% ended up with more tax relief than the entire bottom 80% of all Americans. All this welfare for the wealthy while Congress happily cut Medicare, Medicaid, veteran's programs and housing and welfare for the poor and elderly. I firmly believe that, should the Republican party ever create their own dictionary, the definition for "Fair" will simply be line after line of dollar signs.

How does this sound for a real bargain? Amway Corp. only had to contribute $4 million to the Republican party in 1996 in order to score tax breaks worth over $283 million. That's a 7075% return on their investment. Not to worry, though, Congress will even the budget by decreasing veteran's benefits in this year's budget.

America's major banking corporations began gambling their depositor's money by lending hundreds of billions of dollars to corrupt dictatorships throughout Asia which, when those loans began, as most intelligent economists predicted, to fail, where did they turn for help. Why, to the American taxpayer, of course. Understand, the banking industry would never think of actually asking you for help openly. Of course not. Instead they told their property in government, Congress and the President, to come up with whatever they asked for as a bailout and to take it from taxpayer funds. Without even one word of discussion on the floor of either house of Congress, Clinton, Gingrich and many other conservative Republicans put between $15 and $20 billion of your tax dollars at risk in the process of bailing these speculators out of the mess they, themselves, created. Compare this giveaway to the glee with which these same nimrods yelled and screamed that destroying welfare for the poor and elderly and children would force these lazy sponges into taking responsibility for themselves. What a load!

Oh, by the way, the Sanders-Frank amendment of 1984 directed the Secretary of the Treasury to require U.S. executive directors of the international financial institutions to actively lobby the IMF and the World Bank to adopt policies encouraging any nation which borrows funds to guarantee worker rights. The result? Not one loan has ever stipulated even a request to improve the plight of the world's workers, let alone a requirement. In fact, some loans were made with the full knowledge that the money would be used to produce goods with prison labor or indentured servants below the age of ten. Some loans were even approved which the IMF and World Bank knew would be employed in situations which would expose workers to toxic and cancer causing chemicals without any protections for the workers, whatsoever.

Also, as in the case of Indonesia and its dictator in the guise of President Suharto, with a personal fortune estimated at over $30 billion, one would have to wonder just how much of the billions given to his nation ever actually reaches his people. This largess was provided even though it is common knowledge that he imprisoned the head of the independent (not controlled by the Suharto family) Indonesia Labor Welfare Union over the demand that all workers be allowed to choose the union to which they belong.

Other Asian nations have equally bad track records both in the area of economic responsibility and worker's rights. Nevertheless, your tax dollars are now in their treasuries under their control, not yours. In fact, if history is our guide, you can kiss that money good-bye since each loan America has instigated, save for the Mexican bail-out, have resulted in absolutely zero in the way of repayment. In fact, in a couple of interesting instances, further loans were provided for the purpose of making payments on previous loans. Go down to your local Bank of America, one of the bigger Corporate Welfare sponges, and ask if you can get some more money to pay off older loans. You had better enjoy being laughed at, though.

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