Statement by Jonathan Pelto, Green Party Candidate for Congress on NYPD-CIA Scandal

For Immediate Release
October 4, 2016

Statement by Jonathan Pelto, Green Party Candidate for Congress on NYPD-CIA Scandal

As a Green Party candidate for the state of Connecticut’s 2nd Congressional District, I wish to proclaim my strong condemnation of the anti-Muslim and right-wing policies, practices, and attitudes deeply rooted within New York Police Department’s Intelligence Division (NYPD ID).

The NYPD ID and its “counter-terrorism” operations were established and conducted in collaboration with the CIA (both current and former CIA officers), as exposed in part by the Associated Press (AP) series and NYPD Confidential.  The NYPD-CIA, in their highly politicized, discriminatory, and illegal operations, target not only Muslims, but also liberal activists.  All collaborations with the CIA for ongoing and past domestic operations (NYPD or FBI) are in violation of the National Security Act of 1947 and Executive Order 12333, and therefore are illegal.

Especially reprehensible to me is the undercover intrusion into the constitutionally protected activities of university students and personnel, people who pray in local mosques, as well as left-wing activists who protest the massive income inequality in the United States, such as OccupyWallStreet.

The recent report of NYPD ID misdeeds from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the NYPD (OIG-NYPD), the Senate fight over UASI (Homeland Security grants) funding, mostly for the criminal NYPD ID, and the controversy over the failure of the DNC and Clinton campaign to denounce Michael Bloomberg for his non-apology for the NYPD-CIA scandal are just more wake-up calls regarding the on-going and perhaps even increasing NYPD, FBI, CIA, and worse surveillance of our Muslim and left-wing brothers and sisters.

Because Ivanka M. Trump, daughter of Donald J. Trump, 2016 Republican presidential nominee, is on board of the NYC Police Foundation (page 124 of 128), the NYPD’s slush fund, which finances the NYPD-CIA’s International Liaison Programs (ILPs), is little wonder Trump approves of and extols the NYPD-CIA and its abusive former Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.  Donald Trump also calls for explicit profiling of Muslims, as in less free foreign countries, such as France and Israel.  The Trump campaign invokes the NYPD-CIA precisely because they know the NYPD-CIA enacted and implemented real world, actual anti-Muslim and right-wing programs, and these bigoted programs are politically protected by Democrats like Senator Schumer, and the very powerful and rich donors to both the Democratic party and NYC Police Foundation, either individuals or corporations, like Goldman Sachs.

It would have been alarming enough if the NYPD were conducting these operations and practices only in New York City.  However, not only did/does the NYPD-CIA operate within the legal jurisdiction of New York City, but also outside of its traditional jurisdiction, all across the region, nation, and even world, including the state of Connecticut.  The NYPD ID even had units termed “Out of City units” to conduct documented operations and “visits/letters” in New Jersey, Long Island, and Connecticut, including Operation NEXUS, according to the NYPD ID’s 2006 “Strategic Posture” document (pages 100, 103-104, 107), released by Handschu and NYCLU legal efforts.

As a Green Party candidate for the state of Connecticut’s 2nd Congressional District, I strongly condemn those particular operations within the state of Connecticut.  I also condemn all activities by all those who collaborate with and enable the NYPD ID, namely several institutions within the state of Connecticut (CT State police) and parts of the FBI.  Other states, like New Jersey, have signed agreements between NYC and their state, to permit operations of the NYPD-CIA within its borders.  Given the established presence of the NYPD-CIA within the state of Connecticut, I request that the existence and text of any and all agreements between the state of Connecticut and NYC/NYPD be released to the public.

As the blockbuster Intercept article powerfully illustrates, the NYPD-CIA and its collaborators (including those within the state of Connecticut) have established a systematic, deliberate, and unremitting program of psychological torture against its Muslim and non-Muslim progressive students and citizens.  These abuses include violations of Muslim student privacy rights (FERPA) by academic institutions (for example, UCONN).  From the mainstream perspective, in fact, the NYPD-CIA and its various partners have actually made us less safe by sending responsible law enforcement agents after those with certain political and religious views/beliefs targeted by the NYPD Intelligence Division, diverting their attention and resources.

Therefore to begin to heal the trauma within Connecticut, I request that all information about NYPD-CIA agreements/operations within the state of Connecticut be released, and all connections and collaborations between NYC regarding NYPD ID and the state of Connecticut be rescinded.  In addition, I call upon the Governor, Lt. Governor, and the CT state legislature to propose, pass, sign, and implement legislation against the NYPD-CIA operating within its state.  There is a precedent in New Jersey’s 2013 legislation curtailing NYPD and other out-of-state illegal spying, though I assert this legislation does not go far enough.  Finally I call upon the Senate and House budget process to defund the NYPD ID, starting with eliminating UASI (Homeland Security grants) funding of the NYPD ID.

The wasteful and dangerous Military-Industrial Complex

“…we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

– President Dwight Eisenhower

However, despite President Eisenhower powerful and historic warning, the military-industrial complex has acquired and maintained an extraordinary level of wasteful, misplaced and dangerous power.  Unchallenged, this force is inappropriately costing taxpayers billions of dollars and serves as one of the greatest threats to the United States of America, its people and our future.

Take, for example, the extraordinary waste of scarce public funds now being spent on faulty, even useless, weapons systems.

In recent weeks, the Wait, What? blog has documented a $13 billion aircraft carrier that can’t be effectively utilized to defend the nation and the new F-35 aircraft system that that has become the most expensive weapon in history, but remains plagued by problems that experts report will keep it from being used anytime soon.  (See:  What is wrong with Washington? Well, U.S. Navy’s new $13B aircraft carrier can’t fight…  and Federal government wastes hundreds of billions on military weapons systems that don’t work…

And now CNN is reporting that a new class of US Navy combat ships are failing to perform as designed and promised.

In an article entitled, Third breakdown in year for $360M US Navy combat ships, CNN reports;

For the third time in a year, one of the US Navy’s $360 million littoral combat ships has been knocked out of action by mechanical problems.

The latest victim is the USS Freedom, which had seawater leak into one of its two main diesel propulsion systems on July 11, according to a Navy press release.

The Navy said seawater entered the engine oil lube system through a leak in a seawater pump’s mechanical seal.

[…]

The extent of the damage — rust inside the engine — wasn’t discovered until an inspection on August 3, the Navy said.

“Based on initial assessments from the inspection, Freedom’s #2 (diesel engine) will need to be removed and rebuilt or replaced.

The expected cost to fix the new ship, $23 million…

And the problem appears to be occurring across the class of ships, with CNN adding;

The mechanical mishap on the Fort Worth came shortly after a similar mistake on its sister ship, the USS Milwaukee, which broke down in the Atlantic Ocean on December 10, less than a month after it was commissioned.

The ship had to be towed 40 miles to Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story in Virginia.

The Navy said at the time that metallic debris was found in filter systems in the ship, causing a loss of pressure in lubricant to gears that transfer power from the ship’s diesel and gas turbine engines to its water jet propulsion system.

The citizens of the United States deserve better.

Our elected officials are failing to hold the military-industrial complex accountable and in check.

The cost of their failure is turning our country into the greatest debtor nation on earth.

Washington can and must do better!

Please join the effort to ensure federal and state officials change their ways.

Your support and vote for my candidacy this November would send a clear and concise message about the importance of putting our nation back on track.

Your financial help would be greatly appreciated.

Jonathan Pelto
Candidate for Congress 2nd Congressional District
Green Party

To donate to Pelto 2016 go to:  Pelto for Congress 2016 or

https://pelto2016-ectgreens.nationbuilder.com/donate

Washington and Hartford FAILING on college affordability

In Connecticut, and across the country, public universities and colleges have traditionally served as the primary vehicle for ensuring the state’s children get a quality college degree.  However, a new study conducted by ProPublica reveals that the dream of a college education has become prohibitively expense for more and more students and their families.

As a result of inadequate public funding, failed student financial aid programs and increasing costs, soaring tuition is making college unaffordable for many.

ProPublica reports that from 2000 to 2014, the average cost of in-state tuition and fees at the University of Connecticut rose by more than 66 percent.

However, during that same time period, the median income for Connecticut residents increased only 2 percent.  Take out the Wall Street executives who live in lower Fairfield Country and Connecticut’s household income as remained flat for 15 years while tuition and fees at public colleges and universities has skyrocketed.

The rate of increase at the universities of the Connecticut State University System is even higher, with tuition and fees up nearly 75 percent, all while Connecticut’s families struggle to simply make ends meet.

Add in the cost of room, board and textbooks and the cost of attending one of Connecticut’s public institutions of education is getting more out of reach for thousands of Connecticut students.

The long-term impact of unaffordable higher education will be catastrophic

But unfortunately, the response to this crisis by Federal and state officials have been revolting.

Instead of doing more to ensure that college is affordable, the national and state governments have actually been cutting support for public education and student financial aid.

This election is a unique opportunity to send Washington and Hartford a powerful message about the importance of making a college education more accessible and affordable.

Enough is enough!

Instead of expanding barriers to getting a college education, elected officials can and must do more to help Connecticut’s Middle Class and working families send their children to college.

Please join the effort to ensure federal and state officials change their ways.

Your support and vote this November would send a clear and concise message about the importance of putting our nation back on track.

Your help would be greatly appreciated.

Jonathan Pelto
Candidate for Congress 2nd Congressional District
Green Party

To donate to Pelto 2016 go to:  Pelto for Congress 2016

Or https://pelto2016-ectgreens.nationbuilder.com/donate

The public spectacle of privatization

The private ownership and control of public entities, programs and services is costing American taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars a year as a result of waste, corruption and the insertion of the “profit” motive into the provision of public responsibilities.

Privatization, its advocates claimed, would save scarce public money since it promoted more efficient and effective delivery of programs, services and goods.  The claim, proven wrong over and over again, was that through privatization of public activities, taxpayers would be able to get more and pay less.

The clarion call from conservatives and neo-liberals alike was that by allowing private entities to own and operate public activities, government would finally be able to run like a business and the once bloated bureaucracies would be transformed into streamlined business units that would ensure faster, better and cheaper delivery of services.

The fruits of greater productively, they pontificated, would be so significant that the business taking over the once public activity would even be able to make a healthy profit.

While the concept worked great in theory, the reality has been quite different.

The track record of modern privatization is littered with numerous examples where taxpayers didn’t get more for less, but ended up with a system in which they paid more and got less.

Today, more than $1.5 trillion a year of public activity has been privatized and a prime example of the pitfalls of privatization can be found in Chicago;

For example, writing for Talking Points Memo (TMP), Erika Eichelberger reports;

Over the past decade, the city of Chicago has sold off more of its public infrastructure and services than any other city in the U.S. It is the poster child for privatization—for privatization gone wrong.

In 2006, the city leased four major parking garages to a Morgan Stanley-led firm for $563 million. In 2009, Morgan Stanley sued the city for threatening its profits by allowing a nearby building to open a public garage. Chicago had to pay $62 million to settle.

[…]

In 2008, Mayor Daley sold off 36,000 city parking meters to another Morgan Stanley-backed company, with little public input. It was later revealed that the deal was undervalued by $1 billion. Meter rates skyrocketed from $3 an hour to $6.50 an hour. And the firm charged the city millions for violating the contract by putting certain meters out of use for street repairs, parades, and festivals, and for giving free parking permits to people with disabilities.

The situation in Chicago is not uncommon.

Like many politicians over the past twenty years, Richard Daley was an ardent supporter of privatization.  While privatization had traditionally being backed by Republicans, Daley, like President Bill Clinton, used his tenure in office to push a bi-partisan agenda for privatizing public program and assets.

However, while the privatization of public activities has earned government at the federal, state and local level some fast cash, the long term costs to taxpayers has be astronomical.

Writing in the New York Times, Donald Cohen, the executive director of In the Public Interest, set the record straight on the Chicago parking meter case study;

An after-the-fact investigation by the city’s inspector general concluded that the decision to enter the lease contract lacked “meaningful public review” and neglected the city’s long-term interests to solve a short-term budget crisis.  Specifically, it found that, ‘the city was paid, conservatively, $974 million less for the 75-year lease than the city would have received from 75 years of parking-meter revenue.’

Furthermore, the new contract included provisions that guaranteed the private company, whose primary financial partner is based in Qatar, revenue regardless of what developed during those seven and a half decades.

And what actually occurred after Chicago’s parking meters were privatized?  Cohen explains;

Parking rates increased as much as $8 for two hours.  The initial contract required seven-day-a-week paid parking.  The city was able to negotiate out of that requirement but in exchange had to extend paid parking until 10 p.m. Downtown business owners have blamed the increase in rates for a decrease in economic activity.

Taxpayers are further harmed by the contracts fine print, which says the must reimburse Morgan Stanly and its Qatar-based business partner for any time that spaces used for anything other than parking – including parades and festivals.

[…]

Perhaps most egregious, Chicago cannot build parking lots for the entire duration of the contract because they might complete with the outsourced parking meters.

With just one contract, Chicago taxpayers lost $1 billion in future revenue and managed to dramatically constrain their ability to manage development in their city for next seventy-five years.

As the Executive Director of In the Public Interest puts it,

“The false promises of privatization are triggering a race to the bottom.”

The promise of efficiency leading to getting more for less evaporates as private companies guarantee their profit margin by paying workers less and cutting back on the availability and quality of the services that people need and taxpayers had been funding.

In the end, as the extent or quality of services goes down, demand for other services go up or, at the very least, taxpayers are left subsidizing private businesses while needs go unmet.

What is wrong with Washington? Well, U.S. Navy’s new $13B aircraft carrier can’t fight…

Yes Virginia, things are that screwed up….

From CNN we learn;

The $13-billion USS Gerald R. Ford is already two years behind schedule, and the U.S. Navy’s newest aircraft carrier is facing more delays after the Pentagon’s top weapons tester concluded the ship is still not ready for combat despite expectations it would be delivered to the fleet this September.

According to a June 28 memo from the Department of Defense;

…the most expensive warship in history continues to struggle launching and recovering aircraft, moving onboard munitions, conducting air traffic control and with ship self-defense.

[…]

Commanders said delays to the USS Gerald R. Ford have resulted in extended deployments for the operational carriers in order for the Navy to meet its commitments around the world, placing additional stress on sailors and crew members.

[…]

The USS Gerald Ford is the first of three Ford-class carriers ordered by the Navy with combined cost expected close to $42 billion.

So how could such a situation have developed?

The Navy and Department of Defense said the issues keeping the 1,100- foot supercarrier from active duty are the result of decisions made when the Pentagon committed to building the advanced ship in 2008.

“The decision to proceed with these three systems was made many years ago, prior to their maturation, when transformational approaches to acquisition were a DOD policy,” said a Defense Department spokesman.

[…]

To date, construction on the Ford is 98 percent complete with 88 percent of the test program finished.

The next carrier in the Ford class, the USS John F. Kennedy (CVN 79), is scheduled to launch in 2020. That ship was 18% percent complete as of March.

The third Ford-class carrier, the USS Enterprise (CVN 80), is set to begin construction in 2018.

There you go.  $13 Billion for an aircraft carrier that can’t fight, with two more of the useless behemoths in the works.

Heck, it is not like we needed the money to preserve vital services and properly fund our public schools.

Time to change course

Time for people to know the truth!

Reminder:

Checks for Pelto 2016 for Congress can be sent to PO Box 400, Storrs, CT. 06268

See: Request for donations to Pelto 2016 for Congress

Private Prisons on Steroids …The for-profit detention centers

While many are aware of the rise of private prisons in the United States and the lucrative contracts that are given to for-profit companies to run those correctional facilities, far less attention has been given to the for-profit largess associated with massive contracts to run the federal government’s immigration detention centers and other related programs around the country.

As the Center for American Progress explains;

Surprisingly, the largest detention and supervised release program is not operated program in the country is not operated by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), but by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which oversees the nation’s immigration detention centers.  According to the Department of Justice, its Federal Bureau of Prisons has nearly 200,000 individuals in custody as of December 2014.  On the other hand, the Department of Homeland Security’s immigration detention program detains around 400,000 each year.

The nation’s paranoia about immigrants has dramatically enhanced the revenues for two massive for-profit prison companies that are now raking in over $1 billion a year in taxpayer funds running much of the federal government’s prison and detention programs.

As a result of legislation approved by the United States Congress and signed into law by President Obama, the Department of Homeland Security MUST maintain no less than 33,400 detention beds a day — regardless of whether those beds are needed.  It is the only mandated bed quota of any federal agency.

To acquire that many beds, the government turned to for-profit companies to build and run many of the facilities.  Today, more than 60% of the immigrant detention beds are operated by two for-profit prison companies, Corrections Corporation of America (CAA) and Geo Group Inc.  Both companies have seen their revenue more than double over the past ten years, thanks to the “round ‘um up, lock them in” mentality.

Today, taxpayers are shelling out in excess of $2 billion a year to lock up and supervise immigrants despite the fact that the vast, overwhelming majority of detainees are deemed low priority and are not security risks due to the fact that they have no criminal record and no pose danger to society.

And since the detention centers are primarily along the Mexican border, undocumented immigrant picked up elsewhere in the country are generally transported to those southern facilities, usually by separate for-profit sub-companies owned and operated by the same for-profit entities.

If the mandatory minimum number of beds wasn’t bad enough, the for-profit companies enjoy unique and extraordinary contracts that add to their bottom line.

As the Detention Watch Network and the Center for Constitutional Rights reported;

 In addition to the congressional daily quota, contracts between ICE [Immigration and Custom Enforcement] and for-profit facilities included a guaranteed minimum number of beds that must be paid for each day.  In addition, guaranteed minimums, the contracts stipulated a tiered pricing structure, meaning ICE actually receives a discounted per-diem rate for each person detained in excess of the guaranteed minimum.  The pricing incentivizes detaining more people.”

And that,

“The pressure to fulfill both congressional and contractual quotas has resulted in decisions to detain rather than release otherwise eligible immigrants, including vulnerable population.”

These policies mean that the over the past decade, the federal government’s detention programs has skyrocketed in cost from 700 million a year in 2005 to more than $2 billion a year today.

And to ensure that the money spigot isn’t turned off or limited in any way, these two companies have spent in excess of $10 million lobbying Congress to pass the Department of Homeland Security’s detention and supervision budget and to maintain the bed quota at its astronomically high level.

Think about it, a mandatory minimum number of beds and guaranteed payments for these two for-profit companies, regardless of if those beds or those services are even needed.

Excessive guaranteed profits at taxpayer expense.  It is advanced capitalism and privatization at its worst!

Thanks to this approach, taxpayers are left with the option of locking up low risk individuals who are not security risks or paying for empty beds.

Sadly, Congress and the Obama administration have relied on the former option, unnecessarily imprisoning thousands of people all in a never ending effort to ensure that the for-profit companies continue to exceed their profit goals.

And as if to prove that point, the privatization craze goes far beyond the detention centers.

The Center for American Progress explains;

In 2010, Geo Group Inc. acquired BL Inc., a company with an exclusive ICE contract to provide supervised release which sometimes employees the use of electronic ankle bracelets.  This acquisition made the Geo Group the largest provider of electronic monitoring services in the U.S. corrections industry.

The company told investors, that they were now able to serve clients, “throughout the entire corrections lifecycle.”

And the Obama Administration?

This year they proposed expanding that particular program to 53,000 individuals, at a cost of another $30 million a year.

There is something very wrong in Washington, D.C.

Of course, the wasted money is minuscule compared to what Donald Trump plans to spend on his Wall and on rounding up, detaining and shipping more than 12 million immigrants back to their homelands.

Pelto Slams Every Student Succeeds Act – Calls on Obama and Congress to postpone adoption of ESSA Regulations

Jonathan Pelto, Green Party candidate for Congress in Connecticut’s 2nd Congressional District, is calling on President Obama and Congress to postpone adoption of the Every Student Succeeds (ESSA) Regulations until the new President and Congress take office in January, 2017.

“Limiting a parents’ fundamental right to opt their children out of the unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory standardized testing scheme and mandating that every child must take a standardized test ever year are just two of the damaging provisions of the ESSA draft regulations being proposed by the Obama Administration,” Pelto said.  “As presently written, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) regulations continue many of the failed education policies of the federal government.  The President and Congress should, at the very least, postpone action on those regulations until the new president and new congress take office in 2017.”

Pelto condemned the legislation and new regulations explaining;

  • The ESSA regulations inappropriately require that ALL students take a standardized test every year. The most successful public education systems in the world DO NOT utilize mandatory annual testing.  Requiring such a practice is a huge waste of scarce public funds and valuable student instructional time.
  • The ESSA regulations do not provide clear concise language guaranteeing a parent’s’ fundamental and inalienable right to opt their child or children out of the annual standardized testing program. Failure to recognize a parents opt out right is a fatal flaw in the regulations and this issue must be corrected before any meaningful statute and regulation can move forward.
  • The ESSA regulations require that standardized assessments be focused exclusively on Math and English, thereby narrowing the curriculum and failing to provide the framework for the type of comprehensive education that all students need to compete and proposer in the 21st

As the Vermont State Board of Education noted in their recent testimony in opposition to the regulations;

‘By requiring that test scores in two subjects and graduation rates be given preferential weight, [the regulations] discourage schools from supporting truly broad opportunities to learn and the skills necessary for a healthy society.  In a world where violence and terrorism command the news, the education of our youth to participate in a strong civic life in a democracy is a fundamental skill. Similarly, we must equip students with the capabilities to address critical imperatives like global warming, environmental degradation and growing global inequality.’

  • The ESSA regulations require that states develop a single letter grade to rank order all schools. This is a false, inaccurate and invalid mechanism to inform students, parents, teachers and the public about an individual school or school system’s strengths and weaknesses.  Children, teachers and schools cannot be properly evaluated when complex factors are reduced to a single number.
  • The ESSA regulations maintain the federal government’s commitment to the privatization of public schools by requiring that states must implement programs to turn the “bottom 5%” of schools over to privately owned and operated charter schools or instituted an alternative type of privatization or turnaround program. This arbitrary system to turnover public schools to private interests limits the rights of state and local elected officials.”

According to the federal government’s ESSA regulation process, the public only has until August 1, 2016 to submit testimony and the regulations are presently scheduled to be adopted prior to or soon after the 2016 election.

“The ESSA regulations will serve to guide public education policy for an entire generation.  President Obama and Congress must halt the adoption of these harmful regulations until the next President and Congress have the opportunity to review and revise the ESSA law and its associated regulations,” Pelto concluded.

Background Footnote:  Senate Bill S. 1177 – The Every Students Succeeds Act (ESSA) – was passed Congress and signed into law by the President.  As a member of the House Education and Workforce Committee, Congressman Joe Courtney voted for the legislation in committee and in the House of Representatives. The Obama Administration is presenting working to adopt the regulations to implement the Act.

Media Coverage of Annoucement

CT Mirror – Pelto bids for Green Party nomination in 2nd District 

CT Newsjunkie and NH Register – Pelto Seeks Green Party Nomination In 2nd Congressional District &Pelto seeks Green Party nomination in 2nd Congressional District 

Hartford Courant – Pelto Running for Congress on Green Party Slate 

PATCH – Pelto Seeking Green Party Nomination for Congress 

New London Day – Former state Rep. Jonathan Pelto running as Green Party candidate for 2nd District seat

Journal Inquirer – Pelto, longtime Democratic operative, running against Courtney

Addressing income inequality and our debtor nation status

The Facts

America now has more wealth and income inequality than any major developed country on earth, and the gap between the very rich and everyone else rivals that of the period immediately before the Great Depression in the 1930s.

In a study of 34 economically well-off countries, Chile, in South America has the greatest disparity in income, and the US, with its much larger total economic resources, comes in second.  Incredibly, in the US the top one-tenth of one percent owns almost as much as the total combined wealth of everyone from the lowest to the 90th percent.

The slice of the national income pie going to the wealthiest 1% of Americans has doubled since 1979.

In addition, 58 percent of all new income since the Wall Street crash has gone to the top one percent.

The median wealth per adult American is about $39,000, placing the U.S. about 27th among the world’s nations, behind most of Europe, Australia, Zealand and some Middle Eastern nations

Over 20 percent of all American children live below the poverty line. This rate is higher than almost all other developed countries. The rate is even higher for children.

Young people in the U.S. are getting poorer. The median wealth of people under 35 has dropped 68% since 1984, while the median wealth of older Americans has increased 42%.

Tax rates for the middle class have remained essentially unchanged since 1960. But the tax rates for the highest earning Americans have plunged from a close to 70% tax rate in 1945 down to about 35% today.

Corporate tax rates have dropped from 30 percent in the 1950s to under 10 percent today.

And lower taxes and higher spending means the United States has become the largest debtor nation in the world with $19.3 trillion in national debt – or nearly $60,000 per person.

The solution begins by replacing the present complex, unfair tax code with a fair and progressive tax system that:

  • Prohibits corporations from avoiding federal income taxes on their profits by hiding revenue in “offshore” subsidiaries.
  • Prohibits corporations from avoiding U.S. taxes by claiming to be a foreign company.  The solution is to implement a simple, common sense definition that companies doing business in the United States must pay taxes in the United States, and if management and control operations are primarily located in the U.S., then  the corporation should be taxed as a US Company.
  • Eliminates tax breaks for big oil, gas, and coal companies.
  • Reforms the Estate Tax through a progressive estate tax on multi-millionaires and billionaires.
  • Exempts the first $3.5 million of an individual’s estate from the estate tax. (impacting the wealthiest 0.3 percent of Americans who inherit more than $3.5 million. 99.7 percent of Americans would not see their taxes go up)
  • Establish a progressive estate tax rate structure
    • 45 percent on the value of an estate between $3.5 million and $10 million.
    • 50 percent for the value of an estate between $10 million and $50 million.
    • 55 percent for the value of an estate in excess of $50 million.
  • Include an additional billionaire’s surtax of 10 percent (According to Forbes Magazine, there are only about 530 billionaires in the United States out of a population of 320 million, making them the wealthiest 0.0002 percent of America. These are the only Americans who would pay the billionaires’ surtax under this plan)
  • Institute a new tax on Wall Street Speculators (This proposal would not tax investors, retirees, or parents saving to send their kids to college. Instead, it would impose a tax on Wall Street investment houses, hedge funds, and other speculators.) Trades would be taxed at a rate of 0.5 percent for stocks, 0.1 percent for bonds, and 0.005 percent for derivatives. This means, for example, that a trade of $1,000 in stocks would be subject to a tax of $5. A trade of $1,000 in swaps or other derivatives would be subject to a tax of five cents.
  • Lift the cap on taxable income that goes into the Social Security Trust Fund. (Right now, someone who earns $118,500 a year pays the same amount of money in Social Security taxes as a billionaire.  This makes no sense. Start by applying the Social Security payroll tax on all income above $250,000 to expand Social Security benefits and to ensure that Social Security remains solvent for the next 58 years. This plan would only impact the wealthiest 1.5 percent of wage earners; 98.5 percent of wage earners in the United States would not see their taxes go up by one dime under this plan.)
  • End Tax Breaks for Capital Gains and Dividends for the Wealthy. (Repeal the special, low income tax rates on capital gains and stock dividends for married couples with incomes greater than $250,000)
  • Set fairer Income Tax Rates for the Richest Americans. (The overall impact of this personal income tax plan would be to make sure that the wealthiest 2.1 percent of households in America pay their fair share.)
  • Replace the existing 33%, 35%, and 39.6%) for the highest earners with more progressive rates:
    • 37% on income between $250,000 and $500,000.
    • 43% on income between $500,000 and $2 million.
    • 48% on income between $2 million and $10 million. (In 2013, only 113,000 households, just 0.08 percent of all taxpayers, had incomes between $2 million and $10 million, but this change would provide xxx in revenue to help pay down the massive US debt.
    • 52% on income of $10 million and above. (In 2013, only 13,000 households, just 0.01 percent of taxpayers, had income exceeding $10 million.) This change would provide critically needed revenue to help pay down the massive US debt.
  • Limit tax deductions for the rich.

Meanwhile, it is time to break up huge financial institutions so that they are no longer “too big to fail.” Seven years ago, the taxpayers of this country bailed out Wall Street because they were too big to fail. Yet, 3 out of the 4 largest financial institutions are 80 percent bigger today than before we bailed them out.

The United State can and must address income inequality, while putting the nation back on track to fiscal independence, soundness and security.

The way to do that is ensure the wealthy pay their fair share and that we use public resources to reduce the huge national debt that is destroying America’s long-term fiscal health and to properly education and other vitally important services and research that provide for our citizens and lay the foundation for a strong and competitive economy.

PELTO TO RUN UNDER GREEN PARTY BANNER FOR 2ND CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT SEAT

PELTO TO RUN UNDER GREEN PARTY BANNER FOR 2ND CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT SEAT

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July 12, 2016                                                                                            Jonathan Pelto 860-428-2823

Pelto to run under Green Party Banner for 2nd Congressional District Seat

Long-time education advocate and former State Representative seeks to empower voters with issue agenda

(Storrs, Connecticut) Jonathan Pelto, a public education advocate and former Connecticut state representative, announced that he will run for Congress in Connecticut’s 2nd Congressional District this year as a member of the Green Party. The Green Party’s nominating convention will be held on July 30 at Mansfield Public Library’s Buchanan Auditorium.

“I’m running for Congress as a Green Party candidate because this year’s election is so critical for sustaining the future of our democracy.” Pelto said, “I’m not running against Joe Courtney, whose performance in Congress has been extremely admirable, but to ensure that a variety of key issues are raised in this political campaign cycle. Uncontested and under-contested elections reinforce apathy, and this year, perhaps more than any other in recent memory, we need every voter to understand what is at stake and participate by voting.”

The Connecticut Green Party is the Connecticut affiliate of the Green Party of the United States. Ralph Nader, the Green Party’s Presidential candidate in 1996 and 2000, is from Connecticut and signed Jonathan Pelto’s petition to run for Governor in 2014.

“A Congress that will adopt a fair and equitable tax system that requires large corporations and the wealthy to pay their fair share, so that we can pay for vital services and reduce our national debt, is essential for securing the future of our country and create a healthier, safer and more equitable future for all of our citizens” Pelto added.

“In addition to highlighting the importance of an equitable and viable tax system, I will use this campaign to articulate an agenda that stops the privatization of public education and deals with the student debt crisis. Other critical issues include creating a more open and honest government, effective legislation that stops the wealthy from buying political decisions and laws that support, rather than undercut, renewable energy so that we can reduce the devastating effects of climate change. We must also work to convert our defense industry to develop products for commercial markets,” Pelto concluded.

Over the past ten years, Green Party members have been elected to local positions in New Haven, Windham and New London. The Connecticut Green Party holds a ballot line in the 2nd Congressional District, having received at least the required one percent of the vote in every election cycle since 2008.

“Jonathan Pelto is Connecticut’s leading voice on behalf of public education” said New London Board of Education member Mirna Martínez. “His willingness to stand up and speak out on the important issues we face will make him an outstanding candidate. We are looking forward to having him heading our Green Party slate in eastern Connecticut.”

Scott Deshefy, who gained ballot access in 2008 to become the first Green Party candidate to run in the 2nd Congressional District, added, “The Green Party is about educating and persuading voters to become better informed and more active in our democracy. Jonathan Pelto’s candidacy is a major step forward in our effort to reach more voters with our agenda of fairness, equity, social justice and grassroots democracy, which touched off the current progressive movement.”

This year’s race presents an unprecedented an opportunity to raise the visibility of the Green Party and to present sensible and humane solutions to the challenges faced by our country, state, and municipalities

“As Connecticut approaches the critically important 2018 gubernatorial campaign, the party and its Congressional candidate must receive at least one percent of the vote in the 2016 election, in order to maintain ballot access and its minor party status in the 2nd Congressional District. I hope to be able to ensure that the Green Party gets those votes” Pelto said.

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Pelto, 55, has long a long record of involvement in Connecticut politics and government. Pelto was elected to the Connecticut House of Representatives in 1984, where he served five terms. During his legislature tenure he served in a variety of leadership positions including deputy majority leader of the House. In 2014 Pelto was an unsuccessful petitioning candidate for governor.

Pelto is the founder and coordinator of the Education Bloggers Network, a confederation of more than 240 pro-public education bloggers around the country. For the past six years Pelto has written the Wait, What? Blog, which is purportedly the most read commentary website in Connecticut.