The drift toward oligarchy

Maybe “drift” is the wrong word. For some absurd reason, a swarm of pump truppets elected a bloviating billionaire (or so he says) to run the country because they saw him as a man of the people.

And this Mann des Volkes is building a cabinet containing at least two legitimate billionaires, one to run the Education Department  …

President-elect Donald Trump announced Wednesday that he would nominate Betsy DeVos, a billionaire philanthropist with deep ties to the Christian Reformed community in Michigan, as his education secretary. …

The DeVos family, heirs to the Amway Corp. fortune, are prolific donors in Michigan Republican and religious circles.

And one for the Commerce Department

Wilbur Ross, the billionaire investor considered the “king of bankruptcy” for buying beaten-down companies with the potential to deliver profits, is expected to be President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for commerce secretary, two officials with knowledge of the decision said….

Ross built his fortune buying the distressed companies that were once at the heart of American industry — steel mills, coal mines and textile factories, to name a few — and then selling them in short order, making billions of dollars along the way.

Perhaps his signature investment was the purchase of some of the nation’s largest steel mills in the early 2000s, including Cleveland-based LTV Corp. and Pennsylvania’s Bethlehem Steel. The move was credited with saving manufacturing jobs, with the United Steelworkers calling Ross “a new ally” in news reports at the time.

Since then, however, many steel mills have shut down amid a glut of foreign production, much of it in China. Ross sold his steel conglomerate to what is now ArcelorMittal in 2004 for about $4.5 billion.

So, one person’s fortune is inherited (see video above) and the other person’s billions comes from selling American steel mills to foreigners. Interesting selections. And the sunscreen slathered masses who put the Lügenkürbis in office don’t remember that the previous GOP president sank the country into a clogged feces filled toilet and that their latest choice is going to have us drowning in an even more putrid septic tank.

The muddled masses have ceded responsibility and handed the nation over to the oligarchy. Democracy was nice while it lasted.

(If you’re interested in the book “Capital in the 21st Century,” click here for an excerpt.

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The Panama Papers and piggy banks

You’ve probably heard some talk about something called the Panama Papers, which sounds like someone has been rolling joints, but involves rolling bank accounts.

Anyway, since it’s complicated and involve god awful sums of money but very rich people who are doing things legally and illegally, here’s an explanation that we all can understand. (Via Vox).

The dark secret of Obamacare, as seen by the GOP

A Republican congresswoman, whom I’ve never hear of before (Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington), put up a Facebook post asking people to relay their Obamacare nightmares, because, according to the GOP, Obamacare is nothing but a nightmare. I’m not exaggerating. Here’s what she said:

This week marks the 5th anniversary of #Obamacare being signed into law. Whether it’s turned your tax filing into a nightmare, you’re facing skyrocketing premiums, or your employer has reduced your work hours, I want to hear about it.

Please share your story with me so that I can better understand the challenges you’re facing: http://mcmorris.house.gov/your-story/

So people responded:

Screen_Shot_2015-03-26_at_4.07.23_PM.0

Oops. Not quite the nightmare, huh. So what’s a Republican to do?

Well, try clicking on the link above that directs you to Rodgers’s Facebook page, where people are posting their nightmare. Nevermind, here’s what you’ll see (click to enlarge):

facebook sorry copy

You’ve got to admire the integrity of Republicans. By the way, I didn’t follow the link because Rodgers isn’t a source I can trust.

I read elsewhere that Rodgers did manage to come up with a couple of nightmares. One was from a woman in her 60s who said she could not longer afford care. Turns out the reason is because the woman lives in a Republican state, where the GOP made sure that Medicaid expansion, a planned element of the Affordable Care Act, wasn’t approved.

Comparing nations’ capitals: Washington, D.C. vs. Amsterdam

dc-vs-amsterdam.0-1

Possession of marijuana has been legal in D.C. since last Thursday. Coffee shops have been selling pot in Amsterdam since the 1970s. But within the past couple of years, Dutch authorities have been working on laws to allow the sale of weed only to residents of the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. And in D.C. sales aren’t legal at all.

So, overall, Amsterdam has D.C. beat in every regard. (I’m biased, because Amsterdam is my favorite city in the world.) Oh, the chart was put together by the Dutch Embassy.

For more information, click here.