Tuesday, August 23, 2050

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Thursday, September 10, 2020

My Final Appearance on Loud & Clear. Discussion of Republican Convention. (8/26/2020)

Trump showcases presidential powers in second night of Republican convention

The Republican National Convention last night was more like a presidential press conference, mostly located at the White House, featuring Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaking from Jerusalem on a diplomatic trip, and with a naturalization ceremony for new U.S. citizens. What does last night’s theatrics say about the state of democracy in the U.S.? Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net, joins the show.

Listen to "Trump showcases presidential powers in second night of Republican convention" on Spreaker.

Loud & Clear was a daily program of news, commentary, and political analysis on Radio Sputnik, hosted by Brian Becker and John Kiriakou, featuring independent experts, activists, and political writers. The show was cancelled soon after this episode.

Brian Becker and his crew are attempting to launch a new program. Plesse check out and support that project at Loud & Clear ended: Launch Brian Becker's new show

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Payroll Taxes Are the Achilles Heel of Social Security

On August 8th, Donald Trump took four executive actions on coronavirus relief. One was a memorandum deferring, to the end of the year, payment of the employee portion of the payroll tax for employees making less than $4000 biweekly. (Employer payments had already been deferred in the CARES act.)

He did this, according to the language of the memorandum, because “This modest, targeted action will put money directly in the pockets of American workers, and generate additional incentives for work and employment, right when the money is needed most.”

In an additional Trumpian flourish, he stated: “If victorious on November 3rd, I plan to forgive these taxes and make permanent cuts to the payroll tax…I’m going to make them all permanent,” and: "If I win, I may extend and terminate… I'll extend it beyond the end of the year and terminate the tax."

To that effect, he included this language in the memorandum: “The Secretary of the Treasury shall explore avenues, including legislation, to eliminate the obligation to pay the taxes deferred pursuant to the implementation of this memorandum.”

The “payroll tax” is, of course, the FICA tax—part paid by the employer and part by the employee—that is earmarked for the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds. The understanding is that Social Security and Medicare (SS&M) benefits are paid out from these funds. For FDR, that understanding “justified” SS&M in fiscally stringent terms that would make SS&M impervious to challenge from conservative politicians: “We put those pay roll contributions there so as to give the contributors a legal, moral, and political right to collect their pensions and their unemployment benefits. With those taxes in there, no damn politician can ever scrap my social security program.”

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Critical Hour Discussion of Dem Delegates' Protest of Biden's "horror show" Foreign-Policy Team (8/7/2020)

 Is New York Attorney General's Lawsuit Seeking to Dissolve NRA Political Folly?

"Russia continues to use a network of proxy websites to spread pro-Kremlin disinformation and propaganda in the United States and other parts of the West, according to a State Department report released on Wednesday," the New York Times reported on August 5. "The report is one of the most detailed explanations yet from the Trump administration on how Russia disseminates disinformation, but it largely avoids discussing how Moscow is trying to influence the current campaign." Here we go again.

A Thursday headline in the Washington Post read: "For 20th straight week, more than 1 million Americans filed jobless claims even as enhanced benefits expired." The subheadline noted, "Nearly 1.2 million Americans sought the benefits last week, down slightly from the week before."

It’s Friday, so that means it’s panel time. Joining the first panel are Jim Kavanagh, political analyst and commentator and editor of The Polemicist whose latest piece is entitled of “Over the Rainbow: Paths of Resistance After George Floyd”; and Dr. Clarence Lusane, political scientist, former chair of the Political Science Department at Howard University, internationally recognized expert on international and comparative politics, international poll-watcher, author, professor and activist. They discuss a Wednesday article in HuffPost that was entitled "DNC Delegates Call Biden's Foreign Policy Team ‘A Horror Show’ And Ask For New Hires."

Thursday, August 6, 2020

By Any Means Necessary Discussion of GDP Plunge and Trump Floating Election Delay (7/30/2020)

 Trump Floats Election Delay As US Economy Contracts At 33% Annual Rate

In this segment of By Any Means Necessary hosts Sean Blackmon and Jacquie Luqman are joined by Jim Kavanagh, political analyst and contributor to Counterpunch and ThePolemicist.net (where you can read his latest piece, "Over The Rainbow: Paths of Resistance After George Floyd"), to talk about ongoing concerns that President Trump will attempt to postpone the elections and how this morning's unprecedented news that the US economy contracted by nearly a third in the last quarter may be impacting Trump's political calculus.


“By Any Means Necessary” on Radio Sputnik is hosted by Sean Blackmon and Jacquie Luqman and aims to connect the political, social and economic movements shaping the world around us. With a sensibility informed by movements from Black Power to #BlackLivesMatter with a dash of Occupy, the show elevates the people and narratives that (while often ignored) are driving some of the most important changes in the world.

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