Trivia 1M

    I just learned about this but thought it interesting enough to report to you even if it is rather dated.

    During the Republican Convention, there was no doubt that nearly every event and meeting was centered around getting bigger and bigger contributions from their owners and then entertaining them in the most lavish and expensive manner possible.

    During the Democratic Convention, however, they also wined and dined and begged for money from anyone in reach but, they explained, while the Republicans were involved in "fundraising" the Democrats were only holding "donor-servicing events".  

    Now, in my youth I knew some ladies who, as it were, worked in the service industries.  Now, I would never accuse the Democratic Party of availing themselves of such service workers for their donors but, well, maybe the service that the my friends once offered is a good metaphor for the servicing that both the party and their donors are giving the American people?!?  Just a thought. ( 1 )

    I have now seen the absolute nadir of advertising for an automobile.  I have seen this sign only on the way into a neighboring city but it must be part of a campaign or else it is the most moronic one time ad in history.

    It's a billboard with a white background and a three quarter rear view of a bright yellow Ford Explorer.  Underneath, in bold, black lettering are the words, "Escape your job!  Escape your boss!  Escape your world!"

    Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but hasn't the Ford Explorer and Firestone tires already helped nearly a hundred innocent owners to "Escape" their world by the simple act of falling apart at high speeds, causing uncontrollable rollovers?  And didn't the suits in the suites tried their best to hide those deaths by defects until the problem became so wide spread that the media could even figure it out?

    So, just as a rhetorical question, what must this sign represent to the families and friends of those innocents who lost their lives so that Ford and Firestone could maintain their profit levels?  Rather ghoulish sense of humor for these two corporate murderers.

    Have you wondered why states and local governments have been finding their tax base dwindling at the same time that the economy is supposed to be generating such massive revenues for government?  Could it be from Corporate America's massive profitability over the last ten years or so?  If so, why hasn't state and local revenues expanded at the same rate?

    Well, according to a recent Congressional Research Service report the average corporate taxes on revenues has dropped from 4.9% in 1990 to just 3.8% in 1998.  This is dramatically down from the average of 6.5% in the 1980's.

    How can corporations get away with contributing less and less to state and local entities while also paying the lowest share of federal taxes in decades?  Through the simple act of forcing states and counties and cities to compete with one another for the right to accommodate new factories and offices and the like.  This nearly always results in the government entities whom "win" having to waive nearly all local and state taxes for years, resulting in a small rise in payroll taxes but a sharp decline in corporate taxes.

    Now, obviously, those tax revenues must be found somewhere else and guess who that "somewhere else" is?  That's right.  It's you and I.  To add insult to injury, most of the people who are considered wealthy in this nation can find enormous loopholes in the personal tax code so, again, guess who pays the difference in direct taxes such as payroll taxes or indirect taxes such as higher sales taxes or property taxes or fees or licenses or, well, you get the picture.  

    Just as in the federal "surplus", it is the workers of America who have created the wealth that corporate America and the suits in suites covet so deeply.  The answer is, of course, very simple.  Just reinstate the minimum corporate tax and then, as mentioned in an earlier article, then divide any surpluses equally between every single American man, woman, and child.  That way, you have those who can most afford to pay their fair share of the tax burden (corporations) doing so and those with the least with an opportunity to pay off bills or buy food or fix their car or any other of the million and one necessities that the wealthy and Corporate America never have to worry about. ( 2 )

    Here are some names to remember in the future.  When you hear anything about them or from them, understand just this one wee reality.  They are just fronts for Corporate America.

    Calling themselves "Lawsuit Abuse" groups, they are variously disguised under such "organizations" as Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse" or "Lawsuit Abuse Watch" or "Stop Lawsuit Abuse" but commonly called CALAs.  These "grassroots" groups are actually just fronts for the tobacco and oil and chemical and many other industries who's abusive business practices and dangerous and lethal products make them the rightful target of lawsuits across the nation.

    A report by Public Citizen and Center for Justice & Democracy, "The CALA Files: The Secret Campaign by Big Tobacco and Other Major Industries to Take Away Your Rights", exposes the fact that all of these groups are the invention of and are completely funded by the American Tort Reform Association.  ATRA, itself, is a coalition of more than 300 major corporations and trade associations whose only function is to lobby through the firm APCO and Associates and to organize "grassroots" groups of pliable citizens and ultra-conservatives.  These groups are given guidance in strategy, media training, and pre-produced radio, television, print, and billboard advertising to convince governments at all levels to weaken or eliminate the right of consumers to sue over harmful or lethal products.

    These groups have found success often but never to the level that the Louisiana CALA achieved in 1992.  There, Louisiana Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, funded mostly by Philip Morris Tobacco Co., successfully defeated a legislative effort to expand consumer's right to sue manufacturers.  

    The report also notes that the coordinated attacks on your rights is having an impact in many areas, achieving passage of laws vastly limiting the consumer's right of redress.  They have even begun financially supporting judges who are sympathetic to Corporate America's money and targeting those judges who support a consumer's right to protection through the courts.  They have even aired commercials in regions where various lawsuits already exist that encourage jurors to take a stand against a legal system that has spun "out of control".

    So, once again we witness the fact that Corporate America is well versed in the theory of the Big Lie.  They create groups that have little or no actual human members but that sound as if they are representing you against some imaginary "enemy", such as your right to hold corporations accountable for their actions and products and pollution.  Then, they trick the gullible American public into supporting these front groups by writing letters or making calls to their representatives. ( 3

    We've discussed this nasty little phenomenon before and I can assure you that it won't stop just because a few Americans know the truth.  The majority of Americans sadly can't recognize Corporate America's efforts to use and abuse them until it's far too late.  Nevertheless, some of us know the truth and it is our responsibility to inform the rest.  Not easy, but absolutely necessary.


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