What Would Nellis Say?

March 2022

Leaked Kremlin war memo instructs Russian state media to feature Fox News host Tucker Carlson 'as much as possible,' says Mother Jones report.
 

The Kremlin instructed Russian state media to feature Fox News host Tucker Carlson "as much as possible," according to a March 13, 2022 Business Insider Report.
 
A leaked 12-page war memo, titled "For Media and Commentators," told Russian media that it is "essential" to use more Carlson segments in their coverage because of his positions on the war in Ukraine, Mother Jones reported Carlson "sharply criticizes" the actions of the United States and NATO and their "negative role in unleashing the conflict in Ukraine," the memo said, per the media outlet.
 
He is also critical of the "defiantly provocative behavior from the leadership of the Western countries and NATO towards the Russian Federation and towards President Putin, personally," the memo continued.
 
The document was provided to Mother Jones by a Russian state media contributor who asked not to be identified. According to metadata reviewed by the media outlet, it was produced by a Russian government agency called the Department of Information and Telecommunications Support.  Mother Jones said that Carlson was the only Western journalist mentioned by name in the document.
 
Clips of Carlson are now commonplace on Russian TV, Newsweek reported, noting that he is portrayed as being pro-Russia and sympathetic to Russian President Vladimir Putin. In late February, his sympathetic coverage of Russia led to state TV re-broadcasting his show with Russian subtitles.
 
Insider's Mia Jankowicz reported that Carlson, before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, echoed many of Putin's talking points during a Fox News segment. In a now-infamous speech, he posed this question to viewers: "Why do Democrats want you to hate Putin?"

After the invasion, he changed his tune, saying that Putin is to blame. But, on Wednesday, Carlson embraced Russian disinformation, repeating a line put out by the Russian foreign ministry, The Washington Post reported.
 
ABC News chief Washington correspondent on Thursday accused Carlson of "almost a plagiarism" of Putin, adding that the Fox News host copies him "almost word for word."

What would Nellis Gray say?

Tuckums is Putin’s most popular “personality” (he has no qualifications as a legitimate journalist or reporter) on Russian TV. How many Americans besides his idols, Trump and Pompeo, condone the murder of innocent women and children in Ukraine?


The head of Fox legal is quoted as saying that everyone knows that Carlson is a consummate liar and anyone with a brain knows that whatever comes out of his mouth isn’t true. How many times in every broadcast does he say, “We haven’t verified this but…” before he launches in a diatribe that isn’t based on truth or facts…usually focused on someone that his audience should line up and hate together?

Now he can add ‘Traitor’ to his resume. Time for him and Fox’s fascist propaganda machine to be removed from the airwaves.

Seven Steps to Destroy a Democracy.


We are now living through a fully-fledged attack on nonwhite power in this country, as conservative white people assert their authority. Until now, the effects of this crusade were somewhat unclear. Data needed to be collected after new conservative laws and policies had gone into effect.


Well, we now have some of the first data, and it is devastating, says Charles Blow in this March 13, 2022 New York Times opinion column.


According to The Texas Tribune, during the primary elections in Texas this month, 18,742 mail-in ballots were rejected in 16 of the 20 counties with the most registered voters. It was there, too, that the ruinous effects of Texas’ new voter ID requirements were particularly obvious.


The paper pointed out that these counties rejected 6 percent to nearly 22 percent of the mail-in ballots cast in the primaries, rates that could easily set a record, since fewer than 2 percent were rejected statewide in the 2018 midterm elections.


It might be tempting to view each election outrage as discrete or to focus on the specific rather than zoom out and see the bigger picture. But when you do, you see that Republicans are following a step-by-step plan to transform elections and the electorate.


1. First, undercount the number of Black and brown people who are in the country, in order to skew congressional districts and the Electoral College.


Any attempt to prevent the Census Bureau from fulfilling its duty can contribute to these efforts.


Last week, The New York Times reported that the bureau had grossly undercounted people of color in this country in 2020:


Although the bureau did not say how many people it missed entirely, they were mostly people of color, disproportionately young ones. The census missed counting 4.99 of every 100 Hispanics, 5.64 of every 100 Native Americans and 3.3 of every 100 African Americans. In contrast, for every 100 residents counted, the census wrongly added 1.64 non-Hispanic whites and 2.62 ethnic Asians.


2. Use census data to racially gerrymander states.


Pack as many Black and brown voters into the fewest districts so that no matter how high the voter turnout is, the number of seats they can win in Congress or state legislatures is capped.


Take Texas again. The state experienced strong population growth over the past 10 years, earning it two new congressional seats. Ninety-five percent of that growth was among people of color. Even so, as The Texas Tribune reported in December, Texas Republicans placed the two new districts under white voters’ control, reduced the Hispanic-majority districts from eight to seven and dropped the Black-majority districts from one to none.


3. The next step is to erect barriers to when, how and if people can cast a ballot.


According to the Brennan Center for Justice, 19 states passed at least 34 laws restricting access to voting in 2021 — the most since the center started tracking these laws in 2011. And as of January, at least 13 bills restricting access to voting had already been filed for 2022. 


Pack as many Black and brown voters into the fewest districts so that no matter how high the voter turnout is, the number of seats they can win in Congress or state legislatures is capped.


Take Texas again. The state experienced strong population growth over the past 10 years, earning it two new congressional seats. Ninety-five percent of that growth was among people of color. Even so, as The Texas Tribune reported in December, Texas Republicans placed the two new districts under white voters’ control, reduced the Hispanic-majority districts from eight to seven and dropped the Black-majority districts from one to none.


4. Then allow big money to operate virtually unchecked to influence the electorate.


The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision allowed unlimited corporate and anonymous dark money donations in our elections. Money buys influence, and influence can translate into power. Now the wealthy can press their thumbs more heavily on the scale, anonymously in some cases.
 

5. Reject as many ballots as possible.


This is where the mail-in ballot data from Texas comes in.


6. Change “the referees” of elections, as States United Action put it.


By the nonpartisan group States United Action’s accounting, as of March 1, over 80 people who denied the results of the 2020 presidential election are now running for governor, attorney general or secretary of state — the state officials who run, oversee and protect our elections.


One of Georgia’s new election laws would even let the state temporarily take over some election boards. (As you may recall, Donald Trump said to Georgia state officials after the election, “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have.”)


7. Finally, have a Supreme Court stacked in such a way that it is hesitant to step in and beat back these restrictions.


In January three federal judges blocked an Alabama redistricting map because they said it most likely discriminated against Black people. But in February the conservative majority on the Supreme Court stepped in and allowed Alabama to use the map anyway.


Chipping away at voter protections has become a theme of the court. Ever since its 2013 decision gutting a key part of the Voting Rights Act, which forced states with a history of racial discrimination to seek federal approval before changing their voting laws, the court has made it increasingly difficult for liberals to prove that state officials are violating the law. Just last year, the conservative majority endorsed Arizona’s highly restrictive voting laws, passed by the Republican-controlled State Legislature after the 2020 elections.
 
And just like that, in seven easy steps, a democracy can be destroyed. In fact, it is being destroyed.

What would Nellis Gray say?

Our white-nationalist oligarchs have been investing billions for decades to destroy our democracy and deconstruct our government to eliminate taxes and regulations that inhibit their accumulation of vast profits at the expense of everyone else. To that end, they have promoted thousands of dedicated lackies to every seat from your school board to the presidency, pushed hundreds of unqualified bigots to seats on the federal bench, and amplified propaganda and lies about “corruption” of the voting process…when there is NO evidence to support their claims, with the sole purpose of barring anyone who isn’t a white-supremacist from exercising their right to vote.

A growing force in the climate movement:  Moms.

In Brooklyn, moms are taking aim at the world’s biggest asset manager, BlackRock.  In Phoenix, Pittsburgh and Denver, moms are pushing lawmakers in Congress for climate legislation.  In London, Lahore and Delhi, moms are pushing their governments to clean up the air from the very pollutants that warm the planet.  Chandra Bocci, mother of a 4- year-old in Brooklyn, summed up her motivation this way: “I want to be able to say to my kid, ‘We’re trying to do something,’” 


That’s how NY Times Global Climate Correspondent Somini Sengupta explains

the role of Moms in fighting climate change in her March 11, 2022 Climate

Forward column. Of course, many climate groups have long been led by women

who happen to be mothers.  But what Sengupta is referring to here are groups

that deliberately deploy mom as moral authority.  Grief and rage drive them

and, as Bocci put it, “a desperation as moms of young kids.”

 

Some are focused on local issues. Mothers Out Front has agitated against a gas pipeline in New York City. Others, like Bocci’s group, Sunrise Kids NYC, have singled out fossil fuel financiers, once staging what they called a protest play date at the Westchester County farmhouse of Larry Fink, the BlackRock chairman.


Mom-led environmental movements are not new. 


Mothers of East Los Angeles, or MELA, was among the first groups to call out environmental racism, when, in the early 1990s, they protested the establishment of a toxic waste incinerator in a largely Latino neighborhood. The Chipko movement in India and the Green Belt Movement in Kenya were built by mothers. Lois Gibbs leveraged her credentials as a mother to draw attention to toxic waste dump in Niagara Falls, N.Y., which eventually led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.


Thing is, moms are never just moms. Some are climate scientists who call themselves Science Moms, and who have created tip sheets and online videos to help others grasp the science. “As scientists and moms, we want to provide other moms the climate change information and the resources they need,” said Melissa Burt, an atmospheric scientist at Colorado State University and a co-founder of the group. “Moms are worried, overwhelmed and anxious about the climate crisis, and the way to push through the anxiety is by taking action.”

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What would Nellis Gray say?

Far too many people refuse to face the obvious devastation that is occuring all across the planet when it’s easier to believe the completely unsupported non-scientific propaganda excuses and denials being spewed across right-wing media. Mother Nature is reacting to the pollution generated by white industrialists for more than a century…they refuse to help clean up their mess and the rest of humanity is paying the price for their greed.

America’s Right Has a Putin Problem.


Just a few weeks ago many influential figures on the U.S. right loved, just loved Vladimir Putin. In fact, some of them still can’t quit him. For example, Tucker Carlson, while he has grudgingly backed off from full-on Putin support, is still blaming America for the war and promoting Russian disinformation about U.S.-funded bioweapons labs according to a March 10, 2022 Paul Krugman New York Times column.


For the most part, however, America’s Putin lovers are having a moment of truth. It’s not so much that Putin stands revealed as a tyrant willing to kill large numbers of innocent people — they knew or should have known that already. The problem is that the strongman they admired — whom Donald Trump praised as “savvy” and a “genius” just before he invaded Ukraine — is turning out to be remarkably weak. And that’s not an accident. Russia is facing disaster precisely because it is ruled by a man who accepts no criticism and brooks no dissent.


On the military side, a war Russia clearly envisioned as a blitzkrieg that would overrun Ukraine in days has yet to capture any of the country’s top 10 cities — although long-range bombardment is turning those cities into rubble. On the economic side, Putin’s attempt to insulate himself from potential Western sanctions has been a debacle, with everything indicating that Russia will have a depression-level slump. To see why this matters, you need to understand the sources of the right’s infatuation with a brutal dictator, an infatuation that began even before Trump’s rise.


Some of this dictator-love reflected the belief that Putin was a champion of antiwokeness — someone who wouldn’t accuse you of being a racist, who denounced cancel culture and “gay propaganda.”


Some of it reflected a creepy fascination with Putin’s alleged masculinity — Sarah Palin declared that he wrestled bears while President Barack Obama wore “mom jeans” — and the apparent toughness of Putin’s people. Just last year Senator Ted Cruz contrasted footage of a shaven-headed Russian soldier with a U.S. Army recruiting ad to mock our “woke, emasculated” military.


But we’re now relearning an old lesson: Sometimes, what looks like strength is actually a source of weakness.


Whatever eventually happens in the war, it’s clear that Russia’s military was far less formidable than it appeared on paper. Russian forces appear to be undertrained and badly led; there also seem to be problems with Russian equipment, such as communications devices.


These weaknesses might have been apparent to Putin before the war if investigative journalists or independent watchdogs within his government had been in a position to assess the country’s true military readiness. But such things aren’t possible in Putin’s Russia.


The invaders were also clearly shocked by Ukraine’s resistance — both by its resolve and by its competence. Realistic intelligence assessments might have warned Russia that this might happen; but would you want to have been the official standing up and saying, “Mr. President, I’m afraid we may be underestimating the Ukrainians”?


On the economic side, I have to admit that both the West’s willingness to impose sanctions and the effectiveness of those sanctions have surprised just about everyone, myself included.


Still, economic officials and independent experts in Russia should have warned Putin in advance that “Fortress Russia” was a deeply flawed idea. It shouldn’t have required deep analysis to realize that Putin’s $630 billion in foreign exchange reserves would become largely unusable if the world’s democracies cut off Russia’s access to the world banking system. 


But again, would you have wanted to be the diplomat telling Putin that the West isn’t as decadent as he thinks, the banker telling him that his vaunted “war chest” will be useless in a crisis, the economist telling him that Russia needs imports?


The point is that the case for an open society — a society that allows dissent and criticism — goes beyond truth and morality. Open societies are also, by and large, more effective than closed-off autocracies. But nobody can tell the strongman that he’s wrong or urge him to think twice before making a disastrous decision.


Which brings me back to America’s erstwhile Putin admirers. I’d like to think that they’ll take Russia’s Ukraine debacle as an object lesson and rethink their own hostility to democracy. OK, I don’t really expect that to happen. But we can always hope.

What would Nellis Gray say?

Why is it that we need the Ukrainians to remind us of why we need to stand up to fascist tyrants (American and otherwise) to defend the battered concept of democracy? Oh, because white-supremacists across the globe are terrified of losing their grip on power and are willing to support despots who murder women and children to achieve their selfish goals.

How far-right militia groups found a foothold in deep-blue California.


REDDING, CALIF:  he far right is rising in the ranchland of Northern California, using special elections and veiled intimidation to spread political influence across a historically conservative region of this deeply liberal state according to a March 7, 2022 report from the Washington Post.


The movement is rooted in Shasta County and includes the support of a roughly decade-old militia. The gains it has achieved have come at the expense of moderate Republicans, who for generations fit the small-government, light-regulation ethic that guided political life here.

No longer.

The combination of California’s pandemic-prompted mask regulations and President Donald Trump’s reelection loss have fused together a conservative group of angry mothers, militia leaders and disaffected Republicans adrift in a blue state. Trumpists are voting out Trumpists. Veteran Republican politicians are seeing their terms cut short.

Last month, the movement successfully recalled a Republican member of the Shasta County Board of Supervisors, a Redding native and former police chief. Supervisor Leonard Moty’s ousting means that the five-member board now has a far-right majority.  Two open supervisor seats are up for election later this year.

What the movement will do with its increasing power remains unclear. But, just as it has across the country, its leaders have pushed against public health mandates and brought a sharp edge to once-civil local politics. Members, backed by the militia, have paid particular attention to Black activism, gun rights and rules preventing businesses from operating as they have wished. Homeless programs are also on the block.

The architect is Carlos Zapata, a retired Marine, militia member and restaurateur who raises bucking bulls on his ranch just outside this city, a hub of what locals refer to as “the north state.” Zapata filmed and podcast much of the recall campaign. He called his project “Red White and Blueprint,” a pointed invitation to neighboring conservative counties and others across the west to follow suit.

“This is a weird pie we’ve baked and I’m still trying to figure out exactly what the flavor is,” Zapata said during a recent interview in his light-filled living room on his ranch about 10 miles east of this city. “But we’re going to keep documenting this and look to help others because all government for us right now is local.”

The effort is already spreading.

In Nevada County, southeast of here, an angry electorate has accused its Board of Supervisors of “crimes against humanity” for imposing mask mandates and using coronavirus-infection tracing. A petition drive is underway to recall the entire five-member board.

At the state level, a self-acknowledged member of the Proud Boys, some of whose members subscribe to a white nationalist philosophy, is running for an assembly seat. The candidate, Jeffrey Erik Perrine, was expelled from the Sacramento County Republican Party.

Once split between north and south, California is divided now more along an east-west line that takes in large parts of the restive north.


The coastal cities are among the most liberal places in the nation. Sacramento, the capital, is controlled by Democrats, who hold veto-proof majorities in both State House chambers. Last year, nearly 70 percent of Shasta County voters supported Gavin Newsom’s recall, which the Democratic governor defeated easily statewide.

This region has a history of angry, anti-establishment politics with roots that long precede the rise of Trump. It has viewed the cosmopolitan coasts with suspicion, minority populations as possible threats, and Sacramento as an obstacle to the frontier-freedom they believe once defined the state. Nearly 9 in 10 Shasta residents are White.

What would Nellis Gray say?

The hateful politics of the old South has become the mantra for white-racists across the country to justify their campaign to destroy our national experiment in inclusive democracy. Any white person who believes they are somehow being victimized by our diversity should turn off the right-wing propaganda media and take a look at the cruelty inflicted on minorities across the planet for centuries. The documented facts are available in the history books that fill the shelves of every public library. Unfortunately, those same bigots are demanding the banning of any book that might make a Caucasian child realize that our ancestors murdered, raped, and brutalized every civilization they encountered.

‘They are preparing for war’: An expert on civil wars discusses where political extremists are taking this country.

Barbara F. Walter, 57, is a political science professor at the University of California at San Diego and the author of “ How Civil Wars Start: And How to Stop Them” which was released in January.  Having studied civil wars all over the world, and the conditions that give rise to them, she argues in her book, somewhat chillingly, that the United States is coming dangerously close to those conditions.  

She writes a lengthy article about her concerns in the March 8, 2020 Washington Post Magazine.  Snippets from that piece are shown below.

So we actually know a lot about civil wars — how they start, how long they last, why they’re so hard to resolve, how you end them. And we know a lot because since 1946, there have been over 200 major armed conflicts. And for the last 30 years, people have been collecting a lot of data, analyzing the data, looking at patterns. I’ve been one of those people.

In 1994, the U.S. government put together this Political Instability Task Force. They were interested in trying to predict what countries around the world were going to become unstable, potentially fall apart, experience political violence and civil war.

 The first variable is called “anocracy.” It measures how autocratic or democratic a country is on a scale from negative 10 to positive 10.

Negative 10 is the most authoritarian, so think about North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain. Positive 10 are the most democratic. This, of course, is where you want to be. This would be Denmark, Switzerland, Canada. 

The U.S. was a positive 10 for many, many years. It’s no longer a positive 10. 

And then it has this middle zone between positive 5 and negative 5, which was you had features of both. If you’re a positive 5, you have more democratic features, but definitely have a few authoritarian elements. And, of course, if you’re negative 5, you have more authoritarian features and a few democratic elements. The U.S. was briefly downgraded to a 5 and is now an 8.

And what scholars found was that this anocracy variable was really predictive of a risk for civil war. That full democracies almost never have civil wars. Full autocracies rarely have civil wars. All of the instability and violence is happening in this middle zone.  And there’s all sorts of theories why this middle zone is unstable, but one of the big ones is that these governments tend to be weaker.

And then the second factor was whether populations in these partial democracies began to organize politically, not around ideology — so, not based on whether you’re a communist or not a communist, or you’re a liberal or a conservative — but where the parties themselves were based almost exclusively around identity: ethnic, religious or racial identity. The quintessential example of this is what happened in the former Yugoslavia.

The CIA also has a manual on insurgency. You can Google it and find it online. Most of it is not redacted.  The manual describes the anocracy signs that we should be looking out for in three stages.

The first stage is pre-insurgency. And that’s when you start to have groups beginning to mobilize around a particular grievance. And it’s oftentimes just a handful of individuals who are just deeply unhappy about something. And they begin to articulate those grievances. And they begin to try to grow their membership.

The second stage is called the incipient conflict stage. And that’s when these groups begin to build a military arm. Usually a militia. And they’d start to obtain weapons, and they’d start to get training. And they’ll start to recruit from the ex-military or military and from law enforcement. Or they’ll actually — if there’s a volunteer army, they’ll have members of theirs join the military in order to get not just the training, but also to gather intelligence.

And in the manual, it says, really the danger in this stage is that governments and citizens aren’t aware that this is happening. And so when an attack occurs, it’s usually just dismissed as an isolated incident, and people are not connecting the dots yet. And because they’re not connecting the dots, the movement is allowed to grow until you have open insurgency, when you start to have a series of consistent attacks, and it becomes impossible to ignore.

One thing is that groups — we’ll call them violence entrepreneurs, the violent extremists who want to tear everything down and want to institute their own radical vision of society — they benefit from the element of surprise, right? They want people to be confused when violence starts happening. They want people to not understand what’s going on, to think that nobody’s in charge. Because then they can send their goons into the streets and convince people that they’re the ones in charge. Which is why when I would talk to people who lived through the start of the violence in Sarajevo or Baghdad or Kyiv, they all say that they were surprised. And they were surprised in part because they didn’t know what the warning signs were.


But also, because people had a vested interest in distracting them or denying it so that when an attack happened, or when you had paramilitary troops sleeping in the hills outside of Sarajevo, they would make up stories. You know, “We’re just doing training missions.” Or “We’re just here to protect you. There’s nothing going on here. Don’t worry about this.”

What we’re heading toward is an insurgency, which is a form of a civil war. That is the 21st-century version of a civil war, especially in countries with powerful governments and powerful militaries, which is what the United States is. And it makes sense. An insurgency tends to be much more decentralized, often fought by multiple groups. Sometimes they’re actually competing with each other. Sometimes they coordinate their behavior. They use unconventional tactics. They target infrastructure. They target civilians. They use domestic terror and guerrilla warfare. Hit-and-run raids and bombs. 

I can’t say when it’s going to happen. I think it’s really important for people to understand that countries that have these two factors, who get put on this watch list, have a little bit less than a 4 percent annual risk of civil war. That seems really small, but it’s not. It means that, every year that those two factors continue, the risk increases.

The analogy is smoking. 

If I started smoking today, my risk of dying of lung cancer or some smoking-related disease is very small. If I continue to smoke for the next 10, 20, 30, 40 years, my risk eventually of dying of something related to smoking is going to be very high if I don’t change my behavior. 

And so I think that’s one of the actually optimistic things: We know the warning signs. And we know that if we strengthen our democracy, and if the Republican Party decides it’s no longer going to be an ethnic faction that’s trying to exclude everybody else, then our risk of civil war will disappear. We know that. And we have time to do it. 

But you have to know those warning signs in order to feel an impetus to change them.

What would Nellis Gray say?

Anyone who does not understand the threat to our democracy has not been paying attention to the avalanche of lies and propaganda defending armed criminals who claim to be “patriots” supporting a “free” democracy…well, free for white evangelical racists and no one else…and those same people are too busy screaming and yelling about their imagined victimization to wonder who’s paying for the militias and why? We have become a nation that worships ignorance and hate.

 Inflation is a sign of too much corporate concentration.


Inflation! Inflation! Everyone’s talking about it, but ignoring one of its biggest causes: corporate concentration says Robert Reich in a March 1, 2022 post in the Minnesota Reformer.


Now, prices are undeniably rising. In response, the Fed is about to slow the economy — even though we’re still at least 4 million jobs short of where we were before the pandemic, and millions of American workers won’t get the raises they deserve. Republicans haven’t wasted any time hammering President Joe Biden and Democratic lawmakers about inflation. Don’t fall for their fear mongering.


Everybody’s ignoring the deeper structural reason for price increases: the concentration of the American economy into the hands of a few corporate giants with the power to raise prices.
If the market were actually competitive, corporations would keep their prices as low as possible as they competed for customers. Even if some of their costs increased, they would do everything they could to avoid passing them on to consumers in the form of higher prices, for fear of losing business to competitors.


But that’s the opposite of what we’re seeing. Corporations are raising prices even as they rake in record profits. Corporate profit margins hit record highs last year. You see, these corporations have so much market power they can raise prices with impunity.


So, the underlying problem isn’t inflation per se. It’s a lack of competition. Corporations are using the excuse of inflation to raise prices and make fatter profits.


Take the energy sector. Only a few entities have access to the land and pipelines that control the oil and gas powering most of the world. They took a hit during the pandemic, as most people stayed home. But they are more than making up for it now, limiting supply and ratcheting up prices.


Or look at consumer goods. In April 2021, Procter & Gamble raised prices on staples like diapers and toilet paper, citing increased costs in raw materials and transportation. But P&G has been making huge profits. After some of its price increases went into effect, it reported an almost 25% profit margin. Looking to buy your diapers elsewhere? Good luck. The market is dominated by P&G and Kimberly-Clark, which — not entirely coincidentally — raised its prices at the same time.


Another example: In April 2021, PepsiCo raised prices, blaming higher costs for ingredients, freight, and labor. It then recorded $3 billion in operating profits through September. How did it get away with this without losing customers? Pepsi has only one major competitor, Coca-Cola, which promptly raised its own prices. Coca-Cola recorded $10 billion in revenues in the third quarter of 2021, up 16% from the previous year.
 
Food prices are soaring, but half of that is from meat, which costs 15% more than last year. There are only four major meat processing companies in America, which are all raising their prices and enjoying record profits. Get the picture?


The underlying problem is not inflation. It’s corporate power. Since the 1980s, when the U.S. government all but abandoned antitrust enforcement, two-thirds of all American industries have become more concentrated. Most are now dominated by a handful of corporations that coordinate prices and production. This is true of: banks, broadband, pharmaceutical companies, airlines, meatpackers, and yes, soda.


Corporations in all these industries could easily absorb higher costs — including long overdue wage increases — without passing them on to consumers in the form of higher prices. But they aren’t. Instead, they’re using their massive profits to line the pockets of major investors and executives — while both consumers and workers get shafted.


How can this structural problem be fixed? Fighting corporate concentration with more aggressive antitrust enforcement. Biden has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate oil companies, and he’s appointed experienced antitrust lawyers to both the FTC and the Justice Department.


So don’t fall for Republicans’ fear mongering about inflation. The real culprit here is corporate power.

What would Nellis Gray say?

The simple question is…who’s profiting from our nation’s pain? We all know the answer, the same fascist oligarchs who control the companies that are raising prices to line their own pockets at the expense of the working class in this country.

There is no lack of trees to produce lumber…but the prices have skyrocketed. There is no shortage of oil being pumped out of the ground around the world…but prices at the pump are outrageous. The production of food products hasn’t declined but shortages and price increases are affecting every household in the country.

This isn’t happening by accident or as the result of the war in Ukraine, it is happening because the greedy few are never inhibited from gouging the consumer or ignoring what’s best for our nation…their only allegiance is increased profits and more power for themselves.