The 2013 Hypocrisy Oscars
by Paul Buchheit Published on Monday, February 25, 2013 by Common DreamsThe best actors in America are the business and government leaders who impersonate job creators and makers of prosperity. For their stellar performances over the past year, they deserve to be considered for the special awards listed below.
Here are the nominees:
Facebook's Eduardo Saverin scored big-time, landing Mark Zuckerberg as a roommate at Harvard, using American resources to score billions in income, and then revoking his citizenship to avoid paying any taxes.
Thanks to a capital gains system that benefits the few over the many, the twenty richest Americans made more money in one year than the entire United States federal education budget.
Double score! Wall Street bankers responsible for the financial crash not only made it through another year without a single arrest, but they continued to score big bonuses for their criminal behavior.
The 71 Fix the Debt CEOs who are determined to cut Social Security built up their personal retirement funds to an average of $9 million each.
AIG threatened to sue the federal government for its own bailout (because other companies got more money).
Rachel Marsden: "If capitalism is perceived to not be working in America..it's because the system isn't capitalist enough."
Chicago Tribune: "Western-style private enterprise..will lead the world out of the mess it led the world into."
WEDDING TUX: Former Senator John Ensign (R-NV) said "Marriage is the cornerstone on which our society was founded." He later admitted that he had had an extramarital affair with a former campaign staffer.
MOTHER GOOSE MASK: Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) introduced a bill against child pornography and supported sex offender laws. Then he was caught sending sexual messages to underage male congressional pages.
PRO-LIFE GOWN: Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) said "All life should be cherished and protected. We are pro-life." It was later learned that he had encouraged both his lover and his wife to get abortions.
"I PAY TAXES" T-SHIRT: Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) stepped down as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee after failing to pay income taxes. Later he said "Governor Romney should come clean about the tax returns he's hiding from voters."
EARTH DAY SUIT: Al Gore won a Nobel Peace Prize for his work on climate change. Utility bills for his 20-room Nashville mansion amounted to $30,000 in 2006.
DIOGENES TOGA: Former Sen. Pete Domenici kept secret that he fathered a child in the 1970s with the daughter of a Senate colleague. Then he voted to impeach Bill Clinton and was quoted as saying "Truthfulness is the first pillar of good character.."
BEST SELF-SUPPORTING ACTORS
An Apple executive: "We don't have an obligation to solve America's problems."
Honeywell CEO David Cote: "Zero." (When asked what the corporate tax rate should be.
Billionaire Kenneth Griffin: The wealthy "have an insufficient influence" on politics today.
Chicago Tribune: "What's so terrible about the infusion of so much money into the presidential campaign?"
LEADING ACTRESS Accusation
Roger Rivard (R-WI): "Some girls rape easy."
Rick Santorum: "Rape victims should make the best of a bad situation."
Todd Akin (R-MO): "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."
Richard Mourdock (R-IN): "I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen."
Rush Limbaugh on Sandra Fluke defending contraception: "It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute..She's having so much sex she can't afford the contraception."
BEST SONG (and dance, to the tune of "Fix the Debt")
Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs: "You're going to have to do something, undoubtedly, to lower people's expectations of what they're going to get."
Billionaire Peter Peterson: "Without much broader sacrifice..we will never cure America's economic ills."
BEST ANIMATED SHORTS
Charles Koch: "I want my fair share - and that's ALL of it."
CEO Ilana Weinstein about Wall Street bonus cutbacks: "It's a disaster."
The Heritage Foundation on the Financial Transaction Tax: "Thousands of high-paying jobs would leave the U.S."
An HSBC executive after laundering money through drug cartels: We are "profoundly sorry."
1. 2012 was the best year ever: Poverty and Inequality Down.
-- This documentary skillfully looks beyond the fact that the almost half the people of the world - three billion people - live on less than $2.50 a day, with little change between 1981 and 2008. As for inequality, if China is excluded the global income gap has risen dramatically, even though inequality WITHIN China has risen steadily.
2. The Verizon Story
-- An overview of the popular company over the past five years. Verizon paid negative taxes from 2008 to 2010. A company spokesman said, "The fact is, Verizon fully complies with all tax laws and pays its fair share of taxes." Over approximately the same period, Verizon laid off 30,000 workers. Today, because of Verizon/AT&T market dominance, users in South Korea, Hong Kong, and Europe get much faster service at a much lower price. Verizon is one of the leading lobbyists in Washington, using its money and muscle to crush competition.
3. Sour Apple
-- Behind the scenes at the company with all our favorite gadgets. Apple got its tax bill down to 9.8% last year. About 2/3 of its profits remain overseas for tax avoidance purposes. For state avoidance purposes, the Cupertino, California company claims residence in Nevada. Apple claims to have added 500,000 jobs to the U.S. economy, but it only has 47,000 U.S. employees. It is estimated that the company makes $420,000 profit per employee while paying an average of $12 per hour for its store workers.
The JOBS Act: Removing Protections for Small Investors
Electricity Freedom Act: Repealing Renewable Energy Standards
Right To Work Act: Weakening Unions
Legacy Families: The Super-Rich
BEST MAKE UP
Rick Santorum: "One of the favorite tricks of the left [is] this politicization of science called manmade global warming."
Fox News: "Report: Global Warming Stopped 16 Years Ago."
Senator James Inhofe: "The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous."
BEST PRODUCTION (of Jobs in the Mind)
Michael Barone: "The iPod/Facebook generation [has] the means to find work and create careers that build on their own personal talents and interests."
Mitt Romney: "..borrow money if you have to from your parents, start a business."
President Obama: "Over five million new jobs." He didn't mention the 4.3 million jobs that were lost after he became President.
BEST SCREEN PLAY
Google screens profits by moving them through Ireland and the Netherlands and Bermuda, and then screens them again in U.S. banks to keep the money safe (although still untaxed).
American "Ultra High Net Worth Individuals" are using overseas tax havens to screen up to $750 billion of income every year.
Hedge fund managers screen their billions in Bermuda with a strategy called the "reinsurance company", which allow taxes to be deferred for years.
BEST SOUND MIXING
Mitt Romney: "I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that's the America millions of Americans believe in."
BEST VISUAL EFFECT
Nutrition classes being taught by Coca Cola and Hershey's
Foreclosure leader Wells Fargo sponsoring Habitat for Humanity
McDonalds sponsoring London Olympics 2012
Argo: Why Couldn't They Just Let Us Run Their Country In Peace?
Lincoln: Why Isn't Frederick Douglass in My Movie?
Django Rechained: When He's Picked Up at School in a Private Prison Drug Sweep
Zero Dot Thirty: The Percentage Of Accurate Drone Strikes
And THE WINNER IS... the Financial Industry.
I'd like to thank Congress and the SEC and the Glass-Steagall repealers and the ratings agencies and all my friends at the Federal Reserve, and everyone who came through the revolving door of my life.
And to you, America: You dislike me, you really dislike me!
Paul Buchheit is a college teacher, an active member of US Uncut Chicago, founder and developer of social justice and educational websites (UsAgainstGreed.org, PayUpNow.org, RappingHistory.org), and the editor and main author of " American Wars: Illusions and Realities" (Clarity Press). He can be reached at paul@UsAgainstGreed.org.