Things you should know!

Does hard work really pay off anymore?

posted May 5, 2014, 6:11 AM by Hank Gagnon   [ updated May 5, 2014, 6:12 AM ]

Submitted by Thom Hartmann A... on 2. May 2014 - 7:35

For most of our lives, we've been taught that hard work pays off, but most of the super-rich didn't make their money by working hard. According to a new analysis by Paul Buchheit of UsAgainstGreed.org, those at the top make most of their money by betting against the American people. The wealthy elite makes a fortune by speculating on rising food prices, which means that they profit by making it harder for people around the world to afford to eat. 

As if that isn't evil enough, the super-rich also bet against mortgages, so that they could make a profit when Americans could not longer afford to stay in their homes. And, once millions of Americans found themselves out on the street, the private equity firms swooped in, bought up the foreclosures, and rented them back to the very people that they swindled out of their homes. The super-rich rake in even more by gambling on Wall Street, screwing over Main Street, and buying off the politicians that help make it all possible. The only hard work that the billionaires face is walking the fine line between so-called investing and criminal activities like bribery, fraud, and manipulating the market. 

Our nation used to really value hard work, and that work was rewarded with a better life and brighter future. But, for the last three decades, the super-rich have rigged the system, and managed to convince many of us that we're just not working hard enough. The time has come to stand up, speak out, and fix this broken system while we still have a chance. We work hard, we play by the rules, and we need to fight for an economy that pays off for more than the top one percent.

- See more at: http://www.thomhartmann.com/blog/2014/05/does-hard-work-really-pay-anymore#sthash.xS8bSj8N.dpuf

Let's take back our land from Big Oil!

posted May 2, 2014, 5:11 AM by Hank Gagnon   [ updated May 5, 2014, 6:13 AM ]

Let's take back our land from Big Oil!

Submitted by Thom Hartmann A... on 1. May 2014 - 11:36

What do you do with the land that's been destroyed by the fossil fuel industry? Well, turn it in to a solar farm of course! The Maywood Solar Farm in Indiana is 43 acres, and it's made up of 36,000 solar panels. And, it sits on the site of a former coal tar refinery plant, which was designated as a Superfund site by the EPA. Back in the 1980s, environmental regulatory officials found that the groundwater beneath that plant was contaminated with dangerous chemicals, and ruled that the property could no longer be used. 

However, thanks to the EPA's new Superfund Redevelopment Project, that land is now one of 85 renewable energy projects that together produce 507 megawatts of clean, renewable power. And, toxic sites in Georgia, North Carolina, and Massachusetts could soon be doing the same. It's nearly impossible to undo the damage that chemical plants and fossil fuel development does to our environment, but this is a great way to make use of the land that they've destroyed. We should be expanding this program all over the country and breathing new life into devastated land by building solar and wind plants in every area that these industries have destroyed.

- See more at: http://www.thomhartmann.com/blog/2014/05/lets-take-back-our-land-big-oil#sthash.0Yuy7U6O.dpuf

Republicans don't really want immigration reform.

posted May 25, 2013, 7:08 PM by Hank Gagnon   [ updated May 5, 2014, 6:13 AM ]

http://www.thomhartmann.com/blog/2013/05/republicans-dont-really-want-immigration-reform

Submitted by louisehartmann on 10. May 2013 - 9:40
Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held the first of many hearings on comprehensive immigration reform.  In the seven and a half hour hearing, senators debated 32 of the three hundred proposed amendments to the bill, and adopted 21 of the changes.  The proposals ranged from plans to correct technical immigration issues, to Sen. Ted Cruz's amendment to triple the number of border control agents, to Sen. Jeff Sessions' proposal to construct a 700 mile, double-layered fence along our Southern border.  

Thankfully, most of the extreme amendments were voted down, but there's still cause for concern over the proposals they accepted.  One of the most contentious changes was Republican Senator Chuck Grassley's  mandate, that the Department of Homeland Security submit a plan to stop 90 percent of illegal border crossings in high-risk areas, before undocumented individuals already living here can even apply for so-called “provisional immigrant” status.  This provision is only slightly better than Grassley's rejected, poison-pill amendment, which set unattainable benchmarks that DHS had to meet before any pathway to citizenship would be considered.   

After losing the Hispanic vote in the 2012 election, Republicans have attempted to paint themselves as pro-immigration, but it's all an act.  The racist and unrealistic GOP amendments in this legislation show they have no real desire to fix our nation's immigration system.  As the Senate Judiciary Committee debates the hundreds of remaining amendments over the coming months, we must prevent these poison-pill provisions from making immigration reform meaningless.  Call your Senators and tell them to fight these poison-pill amendments, and support provisions that actually fix our broken immigration system.

The Real IRS Scandal

posted May 25, 2013, 7:03 PM by Hank Gagnon

http://www.thomhartmann.com/blog/2013/05/real-irs-scandal

Submitted by louisehartmann on 15. May 2013 - 9:36
Yesterday, in response to recent IRS admissions, President Obama called the enhanced investigation of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status “intolerable and inexcusable.”  And, Attorney General Eric Holder announced a criminal investigation into the allegations against the IRS.  But both of them are missing the point.  

The scandal here is not that political groups were targeted by the IRS, it's the fact that political groups are being subsidized by John Q. Taxpayer.  Groups that are politically motivated, and not really “social welfare” organizations, shouldn't receive preferential tax treatment in the first place – regardless of their political affiliation.  

A report by the Inspector General stated that “ineffective management” at the IRS allowed conservative groups to be targeted for over 18 months, and resulted in substantial delays in the processing of their non-profit applications.  But, the real “ineffective management” here was Congress's failure to regulate these organizations, and enforce transparency.  And, what's truly “intolerable and inexcusable” is the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizen United decision, which opened the campaign-finance floodgates in the first place.  

The IRS shouldn't be apologizing for investigating phony “non-profit” organizations, they should be investigating all politically-motivated groups who want to be subsidized by the tax payers.  Congress has repeatedly rejected campaign finance reform, and Citizens United moved oversight from the Federal Elections Commission to the IRS.   It's impossible to create and enforce reasonable guidelines based on an unreasonable Supreme Court decision.  

The only way to really fix this problem is to amend our Constitution to say that money isn't speech, and corporations aren't people.  Let's make it happen.  Join the fight at MoveToAmend.org.

Super-Storms: The New Normal

posted May 25, 2013, 7:01 PM by Hank Gagnon

http://www.thomhartmann.com/blog/2013/05/super-storms-new-normal

Submitted by louisehartmann on 21. May 2013 - 9:28
Yesterday, the city of Moore, Oklahoma was devestated by a monster tornado.  The two-mile wide twister claimed the lives of dozens of people, and injured hundreds.  And, the number of fatalities will likely rise as search and rescue operations continue.  Oklahoma's Lt. Governor, Todd Lamb, said that Monday's tornado was like “a two-mile wide lawnmower blade” that shredded everything in its path, and it hit one of the most populated areas in that state.  

This is another unfortunate example of the “new normal” - the devastation left in the wake of mega-storms, that are fueled by hotter temperatures, and increased moisture in the atmosphere.  This is what life is like in the never-before-experienced world with over 400 parts per million of carbon in our atmosphere.  We can expect more extreme hurricanes, wildfires, droughts, floods, and even massive tornadoes.  

We're living in an atmosphere that no human, in the history of our species, has ever existed in.  What will it take to make us wake up to the damage we're inflicting on our world, and the dangerous conditions we've fostered by pumping endless amounts of carbon into our atmosphere?  How many lives need to be lost before we try to prevent these extreme weather events from getting even worse?  

We can't quickly reverse the damage that's been done, but, we can work to prevent these super storms from becoming even more deadly.  We have to stop pumping carbon into our atmosphere before we reach an even more dangerous parts-per-million threshold.  For the safety of our country, and our world, we must make the switch to green energy. 

The audacity of Apple's "ingenuity"

posted May 25, 2013, 6:58 PM by Hank Gagnon   [ updated May 25, 2013, 7:06 PM ]

Submitted by louisehartmann on 23. May 2013 - 9:57

This week, Apple CEO Tim Cook was questioned in a Congressional Hearing about his company's complex scheme to avoid paying taxes.  According to Mr. Cook, the company's stash of billions of dollars in overseas shell corporations was not tax dodging – it was ingenuity.  And, just in case anyone actually fell for the tech company's creative explanation, Mark Gongloff of the Huffington Post shared an incredible chart, which illustrates exactly how unjust our nation's tax system has really become.  


The chart was produced by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, and it shows how the sources of federal revenue have changed over several decades.  In 1950, corporations contributed over 30 percent to our nation's revenue, and individual income and payroll taxes made up about 45 percent.  But today, corporations only contribute 17 percent, and individuals are paying for over 60 percent of federal revenue.  

So, despite all the Republican claims about the U.S. having the world's highest tax rate – corporations are contributing less to our nation than ever before.  Yet, corporate executives like Tim Cook have the audacity to say we should be celebrating their “ingenuity.”  These companies make the huge profits they have been raking in by using the United States commons that United States Citizens tax dollars develop and maintain.  

Without roads and bridges, communications systems and utilities, corporations couldn't get their products into the hands of hard-working Americans.  They should be paying for the privilege to do business here.  American tax payers should not be picking up a larger share of the tab, while corporate executives hold on to an ever-increasing share of the profits.  Let's tell companies like Apple that we'll celebrate their ingenuity just as soon as they start paying their fair share.

Republican Scott Brown deals another blow to the Middle Class!

posted May 9, 2012, 6:15 AM by Hank Gagnon   [ updated May 9, 2012, 6:16 AM ]

    Republican Scott Brown just voted NO on a bill to stop student loan interest rates from doubling on July 1st. But Just a few weeks ago, Scott Brown voted to protect big oil subsidies. 
    Massachusetts Republican Senator Scott Brown is telling thousands of college students drowning in debt from the soaring cost of tuition and fees, that they have to pay even more.Just a typical move from the Republicans to take out the middle class by making sure that only the rich
can go to college.

Who will you vote for this year: Big Oil, Big Casinos, or Wall Street?

posted Feb 15, 2012, 7:33 AM by Hank Gagnon   [ updated Mar 13, 2012, 2:43 PM ]

by Thom Hartmann

Billionaire hedge fund manager - and primary contributor to Rick Santorum's Red, White, and Blue SuperPAC - Foster Friess let the truth slip out about politics in this post-Citizens United age during an interview with Politico. Friess was among several billionaires who attended the Koch brothers secret meeting last month where over a hundred million dollars was pledged to beat President Obama.
Trying to get other oligarchs on the side of Rick Santorum - Friess said, "There isn't a person at the Koch brothers events who would not get a good return on their investment by investing in [Santorum] as president, because of what they believe about the free enterprise system." The key word there: investment. These aren't campaign contributions - these are investments that millionaires and billionaires are making to keep their tax breaks, their subsidies, and their lax regulations in place.
We no longer have actual people running for President - we have a few very, very rich people like Friess and the Kochs investing in stooges to do their bidding - and hoping to see major returns in their bank accounts. So who will you vote for this year? Big Oil, Big Casinos, or Wall Street?
-Thom

A GAME CHANGER IN AMERICA
        Electric Pick up Trucks, Vans, and SUV's are finally coming thanks to President Barack Obama's clean Energy strategy that has allowed the technology of the Automobile Battery industry to accelerate at an unprecedented lightning speed. We have endured a period of the last 40 years where Big Oil has done everything in their power to stifle technology that will free us from our dependency on oil!  Like buying the Republican Party. The Republican Primary is all we need to see. All four Republican candidates are pandering to Big Oil, Big Defense, and Big Money on Wall all Street and the Health Insurance Monopoly in this country. In just three years Obama will have done more for America than every president has done had since FDR, all while cleaning up a financial disaster and the quagmire of wars in the Mideast  orchestrated by Oil Cartel Leaders George Bush and Dick Cheney!

This is just one company!. There are plenty more American Companies out there doing great work! You can see why Big Oil, Wall Street, and Big Defense the Three Bullies on the Block in America are afraid of Barack Obama because his policies benefiting Middle Class America. They are desperate to get Obama out because he hits them where it hurts.....THE TRUTH! The truth on how they continue to drain the treasury with unscrupulous tax cuts for a bunch of billionaires  Oil Barons who have NO allegiance to the Motherland AMERICA. They must be pushed back. Big Oil Barons BIG OIL PAY YOUR FAIR SHARE IN TAXES, AND GET OUT OF THE WAY OF TECHNOLOGY AND LET AMERICA MOVE OUT OF THE DARK AGES OF THE GASOLINE POWERED INTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINE. 
God Bless America!

Regards,
Hank Gagnon






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Thom Hartmann

American Hero