Category Archives: Politics

Venezuela Seizes General Motors Car Plant

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While the US has a habit of invading or attacking sovereign nations any time the president’s approval rating dips below a certain threshold, Venezuela has a similar, if less dramatic mechanism to provide a brief boost to Maduro’s popularity: it nationalizes foreign plants on its soil.

It did so last July, when the country was once again suffocating under a wave of violent protests, when just hours after Kimberly-Clark said it will shutter its Venezuela operations after years of grappling with soaring inflation and a shortage of hard currency and raw materials, Venezuela retaliated by announcing it would seize the factory.

It did so again overnight, when General Motors said on Wednesday that Venezuelan authorities had illegally seized its plant in the industrial hub of Valencia; as a result the car maker said it would immediately halt operations in Venezuela.

“Yesterday, GMV’s (General Motors Venezolana) plant was unexpectedly taken by the public authorities, preventing normal operations. In addition, other assets of the company, such as vehicles, have been illegally taken from its facilities,” the company said in a statement.

The automaker said the seizure showed a “total disregard” of its legal rights. “[GM] strongly rejects the arbitrary measures taken by the authorities and will vigorously take all legal actions, within and outside of Venezuela, to defend its rights.”

GM’s subsidiary in the country – General Motors Venezolana – has operated in Venezuela for nearly 70 years. It employs nearly 2,700 workers and has 79 dealers in the country. GM said it would make “separation payments” to its workers.

While the US car maker vowed to defend its rights, it has no chance of success of recouping its property under the current regime, which no longer recognize either local or international law. The seizure comes amid a deepening economic crisis in leftist-led Venezuela that has already roiled many U.S. companies.

GM said the seizure would cause irreparable damage to the company, its 2,678 workers, its 79 dealers and to its suppliers.

The seizure will hardly be of use to the Maduro regime as Venezuela’s car industry has been in freefall, hit by a lack of raw materials due to lack of foreign currency to fund imports and stagnant local production, with many plants are barely producing at all. Last month, according to official statistics, only several hundred cars were sold. 

GM is not the first US car maker to suffer the irrational wrath of Venezuela’s dictator: in early 2015, Ford wrote off its investment in Venezuela when it took an $800 million pre-tax write down. Others have been hit too, and as a result a growing number of US companies are taking their Venezuelan operations out off their consolidated accounts. ExxonMobil pulled the plug on its operations in Venezuelan in 2007 after former President Hugo Chavez attempted to nationalized one of its projects. The oil producer then took the government to court. Coca-Cola was forced to halt production of Coke and other sugar-sweetened beverages last year due to a sugar shortage.

Finally, for those seeking legal remedies, we have one word of advice – patience: Venezuela still faces around 20 arbitration cases over nationalizations under late leader Hugo Chavez.

Source: ZeroHedge

Stein & Cobb Call For Revolution At UC Santa Barbara

Former Green Party Presidential Candidates Advocate for a Complete Restructuring of American Society

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2016 Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein visits UCSB with her campaign manager and 2004 Green Party Presidential Candidate David Cobb (March 14, 2017)

Former Green Party presidential candidates Jill Stein and David Cobb gave a free talk at University Of California Santa Barbara’s Multicultural Center last Tuesday. Though open to the public, the event drew mainly students. The discussion hinged on the future of America under President Trump, with the speakers calling for a wholesale restructuring of society.

Cobb began by stating, “I am a straight up revolutionary…we need to restructure our society because our current structure is literally destroying the planet.” He discussed how our capitalist system is not sustainable, that our Earth cannot replenish itself as fast as it is being exploited. He also said now is the time to commit to a Green Party platform of peace, democracy, and environmentalism if we don’t want to become fascist country. Cobb encouraged the crowd to get involved stating, “local people ought to be actually governing.”

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Stein spoke next, calling herself a revolutionary as well. She talked about witnessing the collapse of the world that will be home to our grandchildren, discussing issues with the economy, environment, student debt, deportation, and police brutality within a political system that makes the problems worse, not better. Stein focused heavily on the realities of climate change and sea level rise, which she said will trigger floods of environmental refugees.

Stein was adamant about addressing the obstacles society has created for younger generations saddled with student debt and job scarcities. She stated that “we are basically out of time,” and that “nothing is the most dangerous thing we can do.” Stein closed by stressing the need for communities to come together with a unified vision for the future. “We have the power to create an America for the people, but we gotta organize together,” she said.

Stein was adamant about addressing the obstacles society has created for younger generations saddled with student debt and job scarcities. She stated that “we are basically out of time,” and that “nothing is the most dangerous thing we can do.” Stein closed by stressing the need for communities to come together with a unified vision for the future. “We have the power to create an America for the people, but we gotta organize together,” she said.

Stein and Cobb also took questions from the audience. They discussed how technology could be leveraged for a much more sustainable existence, that we could be “living in paradise,” as Cobb said. They talked about the hyper-partisanship of today’s politics, with Cobb stating that we are “living in a state of polarization that nobody has lived through.” He predicted the collapse of the Democratic Party and it being replaced by the Green Party, or something like it.

The audience was eager to discuss the campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, with Stein declaring Sanders’s success as proof that American society is ready for radical change. He told the audience that most of the people who voted for Trump weren’t voting for him, but against the Democratic Party.

Eager audience ready for communist revolution.


Stein and Cobb wrapped up the evening by reminding the audience of the power they hold, and the importance of working together. Stein encouraged everyone to hit the pavement, to educate and support organizations and individuals at the local level. The younger among us will be critical in this, she said. “This is our last chance to really do this, and to allow this generation to lead the way.”

Source: Independent.com

South Korea President Park Removed From Office For Corruption

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SEOUL – South Korea’s Constitutional Court upheld the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye on Friday, removing her from office over a graft scandal involving big business that has gripped the country for months.

Park, 65, was accused of colluding with a friend, Choi Soon-sil, and a former presidential aide, both of whom have been on trial, to pressure big businesses to donate to two foundations set up to back her policy initiatives.

She was also accused of soliciting bribes from the head of the Samsung Group for government favors, including backing a merger of two Samsung affiliates in 2015 that was seen as supporting the succession of control over the country’s largest “chaebol” conglomerate.

Park has denied any wrongdoing.

Park was stripped of her powers after parliament voted to impeach her but has remained in the president’s official compound, the Blue House.

Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn was appointed acting president and will remain in that post until the election.

Source: The Crusader Journal

White Men Should Pay 5% Extra In Taxes Because They’re Privileged

White people should pay extra taxes because they are more privileged, an op-ed at Wesplain argues.

The article, titled, “It’s Time for White People to Pay for Privilege: The Equality Tax,”argues that all minorities face economic disadvantages.

“Racist employers, a disproportionate targeting of minorities by law enforcement, racial wage gaps, poor inner city schools; these all contribute to what is an undeniable reality for minorities,” the article claims.

To fix this, white people should pay a higher tax to make up for their privilege. The writer suggests a five percent tax to start with. A single white man should pay a five percent “equality tax,” while a single white woman would only pay 4.5 percent in the “equality tax.”

Meanwhile, a married white family would pay an extra four percent in taxes and a non-straight white person would pay 3.5 percent more.

The extra money would be redistributed to minorities in a form of reparations for past and present struggles.

“That’s $1,348 for every US minority individual or roughly $3,000 per minority household on an annual basis. While $3,000 could never rectify centuries of abuse, it could at least give minorities the financial tools to compete in a white, male-dominated society,” the article states.

The article acknowledges that white people might be upset about a privilege tax.

“We must continue to voice our opinion, especially in this racist, misogynistic environment post-Trump. They must understand that their economic success was only made possible by the blood and sweat of minorities,” the article finishes.

The idea that white people should be punished for the color of their skin is not new. A black woman launched a website where minorities could ask for money from white people as a form of reparations. (RELATED:Black Woman Launches ‘Reparations’ Website For Guilty White People)

Minorities asked for tuition to college, engagement rings and laptops, to name a few. The website, Repartions.me, also allowed white people to post personal offers of reparations.

Democrat Party Propaganda Group Shareblue Has Ties To A Host Of Foreign Special Interests

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As the American press has shone a spotlight upon alleged Russian involvement both in the U.S. presidential election and its aftermath, Disobedient Media has identified a number of foreign public and private sector groups using DNC operations to peddle influence in American politics. An investigation into a shadowy world of shell companies and chains of influence stretching all over the globe has revealed that Democratic propaganda figure David Brock’s organization Shareblue appears to be a apparent front group being used by a number of Chinese, Middle Eastern, British, Israeli, Mexican and American special interests to spread anti-Trump and anti-democratic rhetoric both during the presidential election as well as in its aftermath.

David Brock is a one-time Republican turned Democrat operative once labeled by Time Magazine as one of the most influential players in the DNC. Brock has a long history working for the Democrat Party in media promotion and propaganda, starting with his organization Media Matters. During the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Brock ran the group Correct the Record, which paid an army of online trolls to “harass, censor Trump supporters and spread their own propaganda” across various forums and social media outlets online. In the aftermath of the election, Brock has returned to continue to fight an information war online, armed a $40 million budget and a renewed will to resist President Donald Trump. The group, Shareblue, continues the same tactics used by Brock’s past organizations and has been criticized by fellow Democrats as harming more than helping due to its reliance upon online harassment and censorship. An investigation into the corporate paper trail behind Shareblue reveals what is likely the true reason for concern among DNC members: Shareblue appears to be supported by a raft of foreign interests in China, Britain, Israel and various Middle Eastern entities to interfere in American politics.

I. Shareblue’s Parent Company Is Partially Owned By Group With Ties To Chinese Tycoon Ke Xiping And The Chinese Government

Shareblue’s website was registered by their Chief Operating Officer Joshua Nerpel on behalf of True Blue Media LLC. True Blue Media LLC is owned by David Brock and was used to purchase Shareblue’s political commentary platform when it was known as Blue Nation Review. Blue Nation Review had previously been used during the Democratic primary as a way for paid trolls working for Hillary Clinton’s campaign to target Bernie Sanders supporters online and was described as having an extreme left bias.

A. The Holding Company Which Owned Blue Nation Review Retains A 20% Stake In Shareblue, Board Members Include Figures in Australian Mining Industry With Deep Ties To China

Brock purchased an 80% stake in Blue Nation Review from Moko Social Media Ltd., who retained a 20% equity stake. Moko Social Media Ltd. is a holding company located in Arlington, VA. Oddly for a social media company, Moko Social Media’s Board of Directors includes “Non Executive Chairman” by the name of Malcolm Raymond Scott James, an Australian mining project manager. Mr. James serves as Non Executive Finance Director at Eureka Mining PLC, a mining group located in the City of London. Since 2002, James has also acted as an Executive Director at Tianshan Goldfields Ltd. (????). Tianshan Goldfields is registered in Australia holding various exploration projects in China. Its largest asset was the Gold Mountain Project located in the Tian Shan Gold Belt in Xinjiang, China. Gold Mountain (Jinshan), in Mandarin, is a commonly used Chinese nickname historically for the western region of North America, specifically California due to the state’s historic gold rush.

As outlined by the Department of State in their 2016 Investment Climate Statement on China, foreign companies seeking to gain entry to industries designated “restricted” by the Chinese government must create a joint venture with a Chinese partner. China’s ostensible goal of this restrictive Foreign Investment Catalogue is to protect sensitive industries that the government hopes to shield from foreign exploitation. The Chinese Ministry of Commerce’s Catalogue for the Guidance of Foreign Investment Industries, last updated in 2015, lists the exploration and mining of gold as a Restricted Foreign Investment Industry. To enter a restricted industry sector, a foreign firm must undergo a permit application process prone to corrupt abuses and share a minority stake with a domestic corporation which often is chosen because of its close ties to the Chinese government.

The Xinjiang Province of China has for years been beset by ethnic violence and Islamic terrorism, with attacks reported by the South China Morning Post as recently as February 2017. The area is heavily regulated by Chinese government authorities. Foreigners are seldom inclined to seek access to the region and foreign investments are seldom realized due to the unrest as well as Xinjiang’s lack of ocean access. The mining industry in particular has been made a target in large scale terror attacks.

B. Tianshan Goldfields Engaged In An Apparent Cash Transfer Scheme With The Chinese Government Disguised As A Mining Project

Tianshan Goldfields Ltd.’s entry to the volatile marketplace was a strange choice in a country with many more secure operations to offer an investing firm ostensibly seeking to maximize profit and minimize risk. Their Chinese business partner raises questions about the incentive to grant the company access to a restricted industry sector in China given Malcolm James’ ties to the holding company that managed Blue Nation Review and continues to hold a 20% stake in Shareblue.

Tianshan Goldfield’s partner holding 10% in the Gold Mountain project was revealed in Tianshan’s mining permit approval obtained by mining website 24hGold to be a Chinese mining organization called Xinjiang Gold Mountain Mining Co., Ltd. Xinjiang Gold Mountain Mining, in turn, is held entirely by Hengxing Gold Holding Company Ltd., a shell company registered in the Cayman Islands in an apparent attempt to conceal Xinjiang Gold Mountain’s true owner. Hengxing Gold’s List of Directors shows that the company’s Chairman is Ke Xiping, a Chinese billionaire from Xiamen, China whose Xiamen Hengxing Group Co., Ltd. holds a diverse range of assets in the construction material, auto parts, electronics, transportation, dairy, real estate and mining sectors.

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Even stranger, Tianshan almost immediately sold off their coveted holding in the restricted sector project to Sino Hydro, a Hong Kong holding group of Chinese state owned corporation PowerChina. PowerChina’s holdings are commonly used by the Chinese government as a means of economic diplomacy, and were involved in an economic deal struck with Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte in October 2016. Immediately after the sale to Sino Hydro, Tianshan Goldfields was merged with Australian firm Corvette Resources flush with cash from the sale but with almost no other holdings in actual mining projects. The sale and immediate merger indicates that Tianshan’s ventures in Xinjiang were intended to disguise a large cash transfer from the Chinese government in return for influence in Shareblue.

The involvement of Mr. Ke in the Gold Mountain Project, and the steps taken to conceal his involvement in it raise questions about the true nature of Hengxing’s dealings with a group whose executive had deep ties to Shareblue. The immediate sale of the entire project to a Chinese state run enterprise and Tianshan’s merger into another Australian firm indicates that the group’s involvement with the Gold Mountain Project may have been a well disguised agreement to peddle influence in Shareblue in return for financial reimbursement.

II. Shareblue COO And Website Registrant Has Ties To Organization Used By British, Arab, Israeli Special Interests As Well As The Clinton Foundation

Following the various connections of Shareblue employees leads to a global chase wading through a number of other “charitable” Foundations and front companies being used as vessels to maintain lines of communication between global players hoping to pull strings and use Brock’s propaganda to influence the minds of American voters. Many of the individuals involved with Shareblue have troubling histories as corporate lobbyists and consultants for a large list of special interest groups, raising questions about the various sources of influence pulling strings in the Democratic propaganda machine.

A. True Blue Media CEO Peter Daou Was An Advisor To Hillary Clinton, The Clinton Foundation And Other Special Interest, DNC Figures

Peter Daou is the CEO of Shareblue’s holding company, True Blue Media LLC and played an integral role in the site’s transformation from True Blue Media to Shareblue. Mr. Daou was a former advisor to Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and former Senator Arlen Specter. His website reveals that he has also advised the Clinton Foundation, the now shuttered Clinton Global Initiative, the U.S. Department of Energy, the United Nations Foundation, Microsoft, Intel, AARP, Inc., Action Against Hunger, PR Newswire and Bloomberg Philanthropies, two news organizations which both have close ties to the City of London-based UBM plc.

Lastly, Mr. Daou has played an advisory role for OneVoice International, an “international grassroots movement that amplifies the voice of mainstream Israelis and Palestinians, empowering them to propel their elected representatives toward the two-state solution.” OneVoice’s partners include an impressive list of global special interests including the Association of British Muslims, the UK Conservative Party, Google, Crown Family Philanthropies, the European Commission (part of the European Union), High Atlas Foundation, the UK Labour Party, the Rayne Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Peter Daou’s involvement with OneVoice creates a very apparent conflict of interest given the massive number of foreign interests who are affiliated with the organization.

B. OneVoice Is An Affiliate Of The PeaceWorks Foundation, With Ties To Mexico, Israel, Saudi Arabia, The City Of London And Other Foreign States

OneVoice is a part of the PeaceWorks Foundation, founded by Mexican-American billionaire Daniel Lubetzky and run with business associates Alon Kastiel, Uri Weiss and S. Daniel Abraham. Mr. Lubetzky is the founder and CEO of KIND SnacksIsraeli newspaper Israel Hayom has stated that the PeaceWorks Foundation maintains branches in Tel Aviv, Israel, Ramallah, Palestine and London, England. PeaceWork’s website mentions that the Foundation does business with Israelis, Palestinians, Egyptians, Australians, Turks, Indonesians and Sri Lankans.

The wide range of foreign connections and interests associated with PeaceWorks indicates additional conflicts of interest given the apparent presence of intermediary figures such as Peter Daou in leadership positions at Shareblue and its holding company. The large number of foreign political parties, special interests and foundations associated with PeaceWorks and OneVoice raise serious concerns about their influence within Shareblue and how that influence might be affecting decision making processes in the group. David Brock’s various propaganda machines are by nature already problematic. With the revelations that Chinese moguls, state run enterprises and Foundations with deep ties to the financial world of London, Israel, Saudi Arabia and a number of other players have ties to Shareblue and its affiliated companies, Brock, Daou and others in the propaganda group could be in violation of the Foreign Agent Registration Act for failing to declare their roles as actors working on behalf of foreign principals. The large number of foreign interest groups connected to Brock and other officers in positions of control indicate that, far from being an organization that promotes liberal ideals, Shareblue exists as an outlet for political interests to subvert democratic institutions in America and hijack liberalism to promote the interests those who wish to take advantage of American citizens.

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Source: ZeroHedge

 

Social Media: Hive Mind Control Ghettos

You might have clicked on my misleading tweet to get to this page. I had to disguise the content so Twitter wouldn’t throttle it.

Here’s why…

This morning I tweeted a link to a great video that describes in detail how Twitter “throttles” the tweets of any content that disagrees with their political views. The video describes how Twitter gives a fake message that some tweets are no longer available, to discourage you from clicking to them. The tweets still exist, and you can access them by directly clicking the links in the tweets, but most people would not think to do that.

If you don’t think that’s a real thing, here’s my tweet about the video. They did it to me. And this is common for my tweets about Trump or climate science. They throttle me to prevent them from going viral. And it only happens with certain types of content.

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And it isn’t just me.

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I would argue that the human mind has recently evolved to include the thinking process of social media as a whole. We’re connected to social media like a great hive mind. And thanks to scientific advances in datametrics, the social media companies now have almost perfect mind control technology. We connect to the hive mind, the social media giants decide who sees what messages, and they program us individually. You get different persuasion than I do. 

I no longer have freedom of expression in the way that most of you still do because the social media platforms throttle my ideas. And you know why this isn’t the biggest story in the world?

LOOK OVER THERE! IT’S HITLER!

That’s the hive mind distracting you. Here’s the video Twitter didn’t want you to see.

By the way, I don’t think Twitter or any other social media platform have evil intent. But apparently they think I do. That’s a big perceptual problem.

Update: The misleading tweet that brought many of you to this page skirted Twitter’s throttle filter.

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Source: Scott Adams’ Blog

Russian Hackers Expose California Public Employee Pension Corruption On Steroids

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El Monte, California is a city of roughly 100,000 residents in East Los Angeles, many of whom struggle to make ends meet with a median household income of ~$39,000 and nearly 25% of people living below the poverty line.  But while most of the people of El Monte struggle to meet monthly expenses, the city’s public employees are living the high life courtesy of one of the most egregious taxpayer funded pension plans in the country.  Just ask the retired City Manager, James Mussenden, who told the LA Times that he gets paid $216,000 per year in retirement to tour the world on extravagant golf trips.

The retired city manager of El Monte collects more than $216,000 a year, plus cost-of-living increases and fully paid health insurance.

“It’s giving me an opportunity to do a number of things I didn’t get to do when I was younger, like travel to Europe, take some things off my bucket list,” Mussenden, 66, said recently. He even flew to Scotland to play the famed Old Course at St. Andrews, a mecca for golf enthusiasts.

Mussenden recognizes that few Americans have pensions anymore — least of all the El Monte taxpayers who are funding his retirement. So while he enjoys his monthly retirement check, he’s discreet about it.

“The guys I play golf with, they get very angry about my pension because they don’t have anything like it,” he said.

El Monte’s total retirement costs for public employees in 2016 totaled $16.5 million, or a staggering 28% of the city’s total budget. 

But taxpayer funded pension payouts weren’t always so generous in El Monte.  A fact that changed in 1999 when a decade-long bull market tripled the value of California’s massive public pension fund, CalPERS.  Of course, the CalPERS board of directors, dominated by public employee union leaders and their political allies, voted to spend the surplus lowering retirement ages and raising pensions for public employees all across the state.

Unfortunately, the CalPERS board was blinded by endless wall street reports suggesting that “pets.com” was worth at least $1 trillion and forgot that markets actually cycle.  Alas, shortly after granting 200,000 civil servants sweet new retirement packages, at the absolute peak of the market, the tech bubble burst and CalPERs found itself in a crisis that still plagues the state to this day.

California Highway Patrol officers got an especially sweet deal. Their pensions had been 2% of their highest salaries, multiplied by the number of years they worked. The percentage of peak salary was raised to 3%.

That meant officers with 30 years of service could collect up to 90% of their highest pay for life. And they would be eligible to retire at 50.

El Monte adopted the new pension formula (known as “3% at 50”) in 2000, and the effect was dramatic. Officers who retired before 2000 with more than 25 years of service collect $82,000 a year on average, according to CalPERS data.

Those who retired after 2000 collect an average of $120,000.

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But former City Manager Harold O. Johanson didn’t think it was “fair” that police officers got a sweetened retirement deal while other city employs had their pensions capped at two-thirds of their final salary.  So he set out to implement a “supplemental plan” for other El Monte public employees that would boost their retirement checks by ~50%.  Johanson subsequently retired three years later, at 58, and now collects $250,000 per year from taxpayers putting him in the top one-hundredth of one percent of all public pension recipients in California.

The idea for the supplemental plan arose in 2000, after the city council granted El Monte police officers the right to retire with up to 90% of their highest salary guaranteed for life.

But it created a gap between El Monte police and the city’s non-uniformed employees: Under CalPERS rules, civilian pensions were capped at two-thirds of final salary.

It would boost civilians’ retirement checks by 50% and put their pensions nearly on a par with police. The city council approved the idea in May 2000, unanimously and without public debate.

Johanson retired three years later, at 58. Today, he is the top beneficiary of the program he championed, collecting a combined pension of more than $250,000 per year, state and city records show. That puts him in the top one-hundredth of one percent of all public pension recipients in California.

But sweet pensions aren’t the only perk afforded to El Monte public employees who also get Fridays off if they work 10 hours per day Monday – Thursday and annual cost of living adjustments of up to 5%

El Monte has a history of generous employee benefits — including a four-day work week for civil servants, who put in 10 hours a day and have Fridays off. Liberal pension provisions are another part of that tradition.

Under state law, police are supposed to contribute 9% of their paychecks toward their pensions, and civilian workers 7%. But El Monte covers the employee contribution as well as the employer share, a legacy of collective bargaining agreements dating to the early 1980s.

On top of that, retired El Monte employees receive annual cost of living increases at the high end of what CalPERS allows: up to 4% for police retirees and 5% for civilians, depending on inflation. Most CalPERS pension recipients receive increases of 2% annually.

Benefits that lavish do not come cheap: For every $100 the city paid a police officer in 2016, it had to pay an additional $71 to CalPERS to fund payments to current and future retirees.

Perhaps at some point we can all stop talking about “Russian hackers” and actually focus on the real corruption plaguing our country.

Source: ZeroHedge