Daily Archives: September 6, 2016

An interview with Socialist Equality Party presidential candidate Jerry White

And yes, there are other candidates besides Clinton, Trump, Stein, and Johnson running for President……….

Jerry White is the presidential candidate of the Socialist Equality Party. The following is the second of a four-part, abridged transcript of my interview with White, which took place in Detroit on August 30. In this second part, White discusses the pseudo-left nature of the Green Party and analyzes the candidacies of Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

For the unabridged version of the interview, please contact Legal Reader.

And I was going to ask about Jill Stein and the Greens.

Right. Sometimes it’s more difficult in the American context, but if you look at Europe you already have the Green Party which has held political power. In 1999, the Balkan War, the first political party that promoted the reassertion of German militarism was the Green Party. Their foreign minister was a man named Joschka Fischer who was from the Green Party and who supported the bombing of Yugoslavia.

So once these parties are in power, they jettison their pacifism and completely adapt themselves to the geopolitical interests of their own ruling class. They are not parties of the working class. They are not parties that are fighting to unite the working class internationally against the capitalist system. They are middle-class parties that seek to—and they love this term “space”–to find space within the current political establishment. To assert their own self-interests, which have nothing to do with getting rid of the capitalist system but only advancing their own political aspirations and their economic aspirations.

Kind of a New Deal liberalism?

Well, it would be one thing if there was a New Deal liberalism taking place anywhere, but there isn’t. Every one of these parties, including the Greens, have imposed austerity. You look at Syriza. Syriza is made up of former Stalinists, former Maoists, and also the supporters of the same ideological predecessors of the Occupy movement in the United States, sort of neo-anarchists and so on. And they ran on a program that they were going to oppose austerity and the European Union’s demands in Greece. Once they took power, it was a matter of months in which they first called a referendum in which the population called for a total No vote against the restructuring package of the E.U. and the IMF, and then they turned around and imposed on the population the deepest austerity cuts ever.

Again, this is what we mean by the pseudo-left. Elements of the middle class who utilize leftist phraseology in order to tap into the genuine concerns of masses of people over war, over inequality, over austerity, but their political programs are not socialist, not anti-capitalist, and once they take power they carry out the dictates of the most powerful financial and corporate interests.

And so those who are maneuvering with Jill Stein and the International Socialist Organization, they hope to build a Syriza-style coalition in America.

Read on.

The ITT fraud: Exorbitant tuition costs and predatory lending

Counterpunch:

Exorbitant Tuition Costs and Predatory Lending

According to ITT’s own statistics, its students are paying astounding prices, between $45,000 and $53,000 in tuition for Associate’s degrees (see: http://programinfo.itt-tech.edu/posi/cost.pdf). By comparison, the National Center for Education Statistics estimates the average cost for an Associate’s Degree in the U.S. is $9,888,including room and board, tuition, and fees. I taught for half a decade at an Illinois community college, and tuition for an Associate’s Degree totaled $6,900 in 2016 dollars, or 13 to 15 percent of the cost of various ITT Associate’s Degree. Total tuition for Bachelor’s Degrees from ITT come in at a whopping $76,000 to $89,000, depending on the degree. By comparison, I taught for years at a major state university in Illinois, where four years of credits for a Bachelor’s degree now costs $44,430. Illinois state universities have seen significant spikes in tuition costs in the last few decades, but even these prices pale in comparison to ITT’s highway robbery.

When I attended undergraduate and graduate school at various public universities in the Midwest, the terms of student loans were made perfectly clear prior to receiving any federal financial assistance, because of the financial aid counseling process all students had to complete. I left the financial aid office with little uncertainty regarding what I was borrowing (whether I had the life experience to fully understand the dangers of taking on a mountain of debt is another story). But lending practices are lax at many for-profits. For example, the CFPB lawsuit alleges: “ITT used its financial aid staff to rush students through an automated application process without affording them a fair opportunity to understand the loan obligations involved. In some cases, students did not even know they had a private student loan until they started getting collection calls. The loans were high-cost. For borrowers with credit scores under 600, for example, the costs of the private student loans included 10 percent origination fees and interest rates as high as 16.25 percent.”

Poor Job Prospects and Low-Value Degrees

For-profits depict themselves as providing a fast-track for students to earn vocational degrees that put them on the path to career success and increased earnings. These promises are a conscious misrepresentation of for-profit degrees. These degrees are seen by other colleges and universities, and by employers as sub-par at best, indicating little value added in terms of enhancing students’ skill sets or increasing their odds of landing in a vocational career-path.

For-profits offer degrees as diverse as two-year Associate’s and certifications, to Bachelor’s, Master’s Degrees, and PhDs. But these degrees are the laughing stock of the academic community. For example, an online Bachelor’s or Master’s at ITT will do little to increase one’s chances of getting accepted into a nationally ranked graduate program in the social sciences, and this is well known in the discipline. A PhD from the University of Phoenix is not considered a credible candidate for a tenure track position as a sociology or political science professor. Simply stated, for-profit degrees are the snake oil of higher education. They evoke little but ridicule from serious academic institutions.

Echoing the above points, ITT’s problems with job placement are well documented. For example, the school places less than half of its criminal justice grads into jobs upon graduation. To make matters worse, without overarching federal benchmarks establishing how to measure job placement, for-profits are free to manipulate their figures for what constitutes a criminal justice occupation. And manipulate they do. ITT includes a number of positions in its criminal justice placements that have no business being designated so. These include: health care workers, AmeriCorps instructors, assistant store managers, auto claims representatives, and customer service representatives (see: http://programinfo.itt-tech.edu/ind/bscj/). Such is the nature of predatory “education” in a system that lacks basic federal regulations and standards.

Non-Transferrable Credits

After EU’s Apple Decision, Obama Says Tax Coordination Needed

  • Global tax avoidance strategies were part of G-20 discussion
  • Obama comments on EU tax decision requiring Apple to pay

International tax policies should be better coordinated among countries to avoid problems, President Barack Obama said on Monday, following the European Union decision that would require Apple Inc. to pay billions of dollars in back taxes.

“It’s in the interest of all countries, whether they’re developed countries or developing countries, to put a stop to this,” Obama told reporters at the close of the G-20 summit in Hangzhou, China. He was speaking for the first time about the decision that could cost Apple, a U.S.-based company, as much as 13 billion euros ($14.5 billion).

Read on.

Congress says it can’t fund a Zika response, yet taxpayers are subsidizing bonuses for Wall Street CEOs

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 10.32.12 AM

This is the money to fund Zika and other important issues to fund, Congress.. From the subsidized bonuses paid by taxpayers to the banksters!!!

Truthdig:

A little-known section of the U.S. tax code “created a legal process by which publicly held companies can lower their tax bills by boosting CEO pay, leaving taxpayers on the hook for the lavish salaries of corporate titans,” reports George Zornick at The Nation.

Section 162(m) was a well-intentioned effort by Bill Clinton to rein in executive pay by capping tax deductions for CEO salaries at $1 million. There’s a loophole in the language, however, that allows exemptions for stock options or any other pay that is considered “performance-based,” and that loophole has lead to explosive growth in various stock options and bonus payouts for executives—all subsidized by taxpayers. …

Say, for example, you are Wells Fargo chairman John Stumpf. Between 2012 and 2015, you received $155 million in “performance-based” pay above your actual salary, which is already quite generous. You also saved your company a lot of money by getting paid so much—according to a new study by the Institute for Policy Studies, Wells Fargo was able to claim a $54.2 million tax subsidy in those years based solely on Stumpf’s pay.

Stumpf was the biggest beneficiary of this whacky system, but surely not the only one. The CEOs at the top 20 American banks claimed nearly $253 million in taxpayer benefits between 2012 and 2015 for executive bonus and stock options[.]

Continue reading.

Wells Fargo to artists: Sorry, my bad. Wells Fargo to end ads suggesting science over arts

Wells Fargo, the financial services giant immortalized in lyrics to “The Music Man,” has apologized for advertisements that seemed to suggest that teenagers should set aside their artistic dreams and choose careers in science.

The print ads, promoting a “teen financial education day” program, featured an image of a smiling young woman with the headline: “A ballerina yesterday. An engineer today.” And a young man was shown with the headline: “An actor yesterday. A botanist today.” Each picture featured the tagline, “Let’s get them ready for tomorrow.”

A number of prominent artists took to social media over the holiday weekend to voice their objections to the implicit career guidance, including the songwriter Robert Lopez (“Frozen”), the singer Josh Groban, and the actors Laura Benanti (“She Loves Me”), Alex Brightman (“School of Rock”),Michael Cerveris (“Fun Home”), Donna Lynn Champlin (“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”), Cynthia Erivo (“The Color Purple”), Heather Headley (“Aida”),Zachary Levi (“She Loves Me”), Andy Mientus (“Smash”), Anthony Rapp(“Rent”), Alexandra Silber (“Fiddler on the Roof”), Wesley Taylor (“Smash”) and Jenna Ushkowitz (“Glee”).

Read on.