Taylor Swift Turns Down Multi-Million Dollar Offer…Her Reason Why Will Leave You Speechless

If you had the chance to make a couple millions bucks for an hour’s worth of work — legal, ethical, moral work — would you say “no” to the job? Of course, if you’re already worth hundreds of millions of dollars — and have a big heart for close friends — the decision to give up the easy money might not be all that difficult.

Singer-songwriter Taylor Swift, who completed her transition from country performer to pop superstar with last year’s launch of the album “1989,” is one of the top-earning celebrities in the world. According to Forbes, the 25-year-old Swift is the $80 million woman for the period June 2014 to June 2015…having so far amassed a total fortune said to be in the $200 million range.

And according to a number of other publications, the music superstar was recently willing to forego a pretty easy gig that would have made her a few million dollars richer. Instead of taking the paycheck, she reportedly gave a free performance at the christening of a close friend’s young son.

The Independent is among the news outlets reporting that Swift said “no” to a multi-million offer to sing a few songs and snap a few pictures at the wedding of a billionaire whose identity was undisclosed. The baby at whose christening Swift supposedly sang with her own backup tracks was a boy named Leo, the son of friend Jaime King. Swift became Leo’s godmother when he was born in July.

The article in The Independent says that “King and her husband, screenwriter Kyle Newman, were described as being ‘deliriously happy’ about the gesture, admiring Swift for turning down the lucrative offer.”

It is claimed the wedding deal Swift turned down would have earned her $1m for each song she performed as well as being required to spend 30 minutes mingling with the bride and their guests.

The private, low-key musical performance by “godmother” Taylor Swift stands in stark contrast to the singing sensation’s recent sold-out shows that have been wildly popular with enthusiastic audiences in Los Angeles. The show business website Lainey Gossip notes that, when she completes her run Wednesday night, Swift will have sold out 16 shows in a row at Staples Centre – the first artist ever to accomplish that amazing feat.

“Which is why Kobe Bryant showed up and presented her with a banner next to all the Lakers’ championship banners that apparently will remain there,” according to the web article.

h/t: IJReview

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Don’t Be Fooled By The Political Game: The Illusion Of Freedom In America

“The shaping of the will of Congress and the choosing of the American president has become a privilege reserved to the country’s equestrian classes, a.k.a. the 20% of the population that holds 93% of the wealth, the happy few who run the corporations and the banks, own and operate the news and entertainment media, compose the laws and govern the universities, control the philanthropic foundations, the policy institutes, the casinos, and the sports arenas.”—Journalist Lewis Lapham

Being a citizen in the American corporate state is much like playing against a stacked deck: you’re always going to lose.

The game is rigged, and “we the people” keep getting dealt the same losing hand. Even so, most stay in the game, against all odds, trusting that their luck will change.

The problem, of course, is that luck will not save us. As I make clear in my book, Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the people dealing the cards—the politicians, the corporations, the judges, the prosecutors, the police, the bureaucrats, the military, the media, etc.—have only one prevailing concern; and that is to maintain their power and control over the citizenry, while milking us of our money and possessions.

It really doesn’t matter what you call them—Republicans, Democrats, the 1%, the elite, the controllers, the masterminds, the shadow government, the police state, the surveillance state, the military industrial complex—so long as you understand that while they are dealing the cards, the deck will always be stacked in their favor.

Incredibly, no matter how many times we see this played out, Americans continue to naively buy into the idea that politics matter, as if there really were a difference between the Republicans and Democrats (there’s not).

As if Barack Obama proved to be any different from George W. Bush (he has not). As if Hillary Clinton’s values are any different from Donald Trump’s (with both of them, money talks). As if when we elect a president, we’re getting someone who truly represents “we the people” rather than the corporate state (in fact, in the oligarchy that is the American police state, an elite group of wealthy donors is calling the shots).

Politics is a game, a joke, a hustle, a con, a distraction, a spectacle, a sport, and for many devout Americans, a religion.

In other words, it’s a sophisticated ruse aimed at keeping us divided and fighting over two parties whose priorities are exactly the same. It’s no secret that both parties support endless war, engage in out-of-control spending, ignore the citizenry’s basic rights, have no respect for the rule of law, are bought and paid for by Big Business, care most about their own power, and have a long record of expanding government and shrinking liberty.

Most of all, both parties enjoy an intimate, incestuous history with each other and with the moneyed elite that rule this country. Don’t be fooled by the smear campaigns and name-calling. They’re just useful tactics of the psychology of hate that has been proven to engage voters and increase voter turnout while keeping us at each other’s throats.

Despite the jabs the candidates volley at each other for the benefit of the cameras, they’re a relatively chummy bunch away from the spotlight, presenting each other with awards (remember when Jeb Bush presented Hillary Clinton with a Liberty Medal for her service to the country), attending each other’s weddings (Bill and Hillary had front-row seats for Trump’s 2005 wedding), and embracing with genuine affection.

Trump’s various donations to the Clintons (he donated to Hillary’s Senate campaigns, as well as the Clinton Foundation) are not unusual. Remember, FOX News mogul Rupert Murdoch actually hosted a fundraiser for Hillary’s Senate reelection campaign back in 2006 and contributed to her presidential campaign two years later. In fact, FOX News has reportedly been one of Hillary’s biggest donors for the better part of two decades.

Are you starting to get the picture? It doesn’t matter who wins the White House, because they all work for the same boss: Corporate America. In fact, many corporations actually hedge their bets on who will win the White House by splitting their donations between Democratic and Republican candidates.

We’re in trouble, folks; and picking a new president won’t save us.

We are living in a fantasy world carefully crafted to resemble a representative democracy. It used to be that the cogs, wheels and gear shifts in our government machinery worked to keep our republic running smoothly. However, without our fully realizing it, the mechanism has changed. Its purpose is no longer to keep our republic running smoothly. To the contrary, this particular contraption’s purpose is to keep the corporate police state in power. Its various parts are already a corrupt part of the whole.

Just consider how insidious, incestuous and beholden to the corporate elite the various “parts” of the mechanism have become.

Congress. Perhaps the most notorious offenders and most obvious culprits in the creation of the corporate-state, Congress has proven itself to be both inept and avaricious, oblivious champions of an authoritarian system that is systematically dismantling their constituents’ fundamental rights. Long before they’re elected, Congressmen are trained to dance to the tune of their wealthy benefactors, so much so that they spend two-thirds of their time in office raising money. As Reuters reports, “For many lawmakers, the daily routine in Washington involves fundraising as much as legislating. The culture of nonstop political campaigning shapes the rhythms of daily life in Congress, as well as the landscape around the Capitol. It also means thatlawmakers often spend more time listening to the concerns of the wealthy than anyone else.”

The President. With the 2016 presidential election shaping up to be the most expensive one in our nation’s history, with estimates as high as $10 billion, “the way is open for an orgy of spending by well-heeled interest groups and super rich individuals on both political sides.” Yet even after the votes have been counted and favors tallied, the work of buying and selling access to the White House is far from over. President Obama spends significant amounts of time hosting and attending fundraisers, having held more than 400 fundraising events over the course of his two terms in office. Such access comes with a steep price tag. It used to be that $100,000 got you an overnight stay at the White House. Now it will cost you $500,000 for four meetings a year with President Obama. Yet as Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig asks, “[H]ow does a man, as a person, run the nation when he’s attending 228 fundraisers? And the answer is not very well. It’s pretty terrible for your ability to do your job. It’s pretty terrible for your ability to be responsive to the American people, because—let me tell you—the American people are not attending 228 fundraisers. Those people are different.”

The Supreme Court. The U.S. Supreme Court—once the last refuge of justice, the one governmental body really capable of rolling back the slowly emerging tyranny enveloping America—has instead become the champion of the American police state, absolving government and corporate officials of their crimes while relentlessly punishing the average American for exercising his or her rights. Like the rest of the government, the Court has routinely prioritized profit, security, and convenience over the basic rights of the citizenry. Indeed, law professor Erwin Chemerinsky makes a compelling case that the Supreme Court, whose “justices have overwhelmingly come from positions of privilege,” almost unerringly throughout its history, sides with the wealthy, the privileged, and the powerful. For example, contrast the Court’s affirmation of the “free speech” rights of corporations and wealthy donors in McCutcheon v. FEC, which does away with established limits on the number of candidates an entity can support with campaign contributions, and Citizens United v. FEC with its tendency to deny those same rights to average Americans when government interests abound, and you’ll find a noticeable disparity.

The Media. Of course, this triumvirate of total control would be completely ineffective without a propaganda machine provided by the world’s largest corporations. Besides shoving drivel down our throats at every possible moment, the so-called news agencies which are supposed to act as bulwarks against government propaganda have instead become the mouthpieces of the state. The pundits which pollute our airwaves are at best court jesters and at worst propagandists for the false reality created by the American government.

The American People. “We the people” now belong to a permanent underclass in America. It doesn’t matter what you call us—chattel, slaves, worker bees, drones, it’s all the same—what matters is that we are expected to march in lockstep with and submit to the will of the state in all matters, public and private. Through our complicity in matters large and small, we have allowed an out-of-control corporate-state apparatus to take over every element of American society.

Our failure to remain informed about what is taking place in our government, to know and exercise our rights, to vocally protest, to demand accountability on the part of our government representatives, and at a minimum to care about the plight of our fellow Americans has been our downfall.

Now we find ourselves once again caught up in the spectacle of another presidential election; and once again, the majority of Americans are acting as if this election will make a difference and bring about change—as if the new boss will be different from the old boss.

When in doubt, just remember what comedian and astute commentator George Carlin had to say about the matter:

The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the state houses, the city halls. They got the judges in their back pockets and they own all the big media companies, so they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear. They got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying. Lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else, but I’ll tell you what they don’t want. They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests.

They want obedient workers. Obedient workers, people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork…. It’s a big club and you ain’t in it. You and I are not in the big club. …The table is tilted, folks. The game is rigged and nobody seems to notice…. Nobody seems to care. That’s what the owners count on…. It’s called the American Dream, ’cause you have to be asleep to believe it.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

BREAKING: One Well-Known GOP Candidate Just Did Something BIG That Could Signal A Shakeup

The first real test of electoral support among the crowded GOP presidential field doesn’t come for more than five months — the Iowa caucuses are set for January 18, 2016. But already those far-off gatherings of Iowa voters are becoming potential make-or-break events for at least one Republican hopeful whose campaign is said to be running critically short of cash.

The Washington Post reports that Rick Perry’s presidential campaign is so cash-strapped that it has stopped paying its staff. But while the former Texas governor is reportedly having a hard time with fundraising, the super PAC supporting his candidacy has millions in the bank.

Perry, who has struggled to gain traction in his second presidential run, has stopped paying his staff at the national headquarters in Austin as well as in the early caucus and primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, according to a Republican familiar with the Perry campaign who demanded anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.

While he was given generally good marks for his debate performance in the early round last Thursday on Fox News, Perry failed to break out of the seven-person pack with the kind of rising-star status that Carly Fiorina has enjoyed. The latest Real Clear Politics average of polls finds the former governor stuck in lackluster land with a 1.8 percent standing that puts him behind John Kasich and just ahead of Rick Santorum.

Perry’s Twitter feed highlights the time he has spent in Iowa before the debate and since. Perry retweeted a post from a political columnist for the Des Moines Register in which the Texan is said to have emphasized his interest in The Hawkeye State.

Image Credit: Twitter/Rick Perry

Image Credit: Twitter/Rick Perry

As for the Perry-promoting super PAC’s ability to keep the former governor in the race as a viable candidate, the organization cannot legally coordinate with the Perry campaign, but it can spend generously on keeping hope alive.

“Austin Barbour, senior adviser to the super PAC, said the group would step up ‘to aggressively support the governor in a number of different ways.’” says the Post article on Perry’s cash shortage.

“We’ve got plenty of money,” Barbour said. “That’s what I know. And we’re going to put that money to use in Iowa to make sure the governor is in the top three there. The super PAC is not going to let Rick Perry down.”

Meantime, the campaign workers in Iowa who had been on the Perry payroll have reportedly decided to stick with the governor on a volunteer basis, at least for now.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

What Was Just Spotted In Facebook’s DC Office Could Be A Terrible Sign For 2016 Election

A poster of Hillary Rodham Clinton on public display at the Facebook office in Washington, D.C., demonstrates just how important the Clinton campaign thinks social media is going to be in the 2016 presidential election.

The campaign could be right, too. Facebook has expanded its political arm to attract millions of dollars in political campaign money through the 2016 election. The company reached out to all those running for the nation’s highest office, including the 16 Republicans and five Democrats, with innovative ways to reach voters. Clinton hosted a question-answer session on the social media giant earlier this month.

Other candidates, including conservatives Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum and Dr. Ben Carson, regularly post blogs and pictures of their activities, host polls, and ask for followers to sign petitions, call elected officials on issues and donate to their campaigns. While presidential candidate Donald Trump’s campaign isn’t as active on Facebook as some of his competitors, his interviews and comments have been making the social circles for months, often going viral and giving his campaign traction.

Facebook will be the winner in this election cycle, taking in approximately $1 billion in online political advertising. The company plans to cash in more than in 2012 by doubling its political team, adding a political sales group and data teams dedicated solely to either Democratic or Republican campaigns. Many of those plans have already been implemented.

Two new features voters will be seeing throughout this campaign cycle are more and better videos and campaigns uploading voter files directly to the social media site. Facebook’s plan also includes tracking and targeting voters, just as it does for its other advertisers.

The numbers don’t lie. Facebook has 1.44 billion users worldwide, up from less than 250,000 in 2008, when then-candidate Barack Obama began using social platforms to attract younger voters. Numbers indicate around 1.25 billion of those users are on mobile devices. Around 189 million monthly users are in the United States. While there aren’t concrete numbers on how many of those users fall into the youth category, Facebook’s tracking system in 2012 indicated that the majority of its users who planned to vote were under the age of 35.

In 2012, Facebook launched an interactive question asking people to tell whether they plan to vote. The platform tracked responses in real time and mapped the answers. Data from 3.7 million users shows that about two-thirds of Facebook users planning to vote were under 35 years old. Thirty percent were between 18 and 24 years old, and 32 percent were between 25 and 34 years old.

That could be bad for Republicans. A study by the Pew Research Center indicated that young voters comprised most of the Democratic Party’s votes in the three general elections from 2004 through 2008. Research indicated that 66 percent of those under 30 years old voted for Obama, while the ballots of post-30 voters were evenly divided between Obama and contender Sen. John McCain.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Hillary’s Campaign Just Made A Huge Claim. Then The Facts Came Back To Haunt Them…

The brazen hypocrisy, laughable distortions, and in-your-face deceptions foisted on the American people by the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign are something to behold. Case in point — a slam-dunk of a doozy — an email just sent to Hillary supporters by campaign chairman John Podesta, a long-time Democrat political consultant and ultra-liberal operative who founded the pro-Clinton Center for American Progress.

As The Daily Caller reports, Podesta’s email with the subject line, “A ferocious onslaught of dark money,” warns that Republicans vying for the presidency are out-raising the former secretary of state, who, Podesta claims, is funded not so much by fat cats as by small-dollar donors. However, TheDC’s investigation proves that those supporters who contributed a few bucks to the Clinton campaign represent only a fraction of the huge war chest Hillary has raised so far.

“The Clinton campaign took in $46.7 million in its first quarter of existence, no small sum,” reports TheDC. “Even NBC News called it a ‘Huge Fundraising Haul.’

If each of Clinton’s 250,000 donors ‘chipped in’ all the low dollar amounts listed in the email — $1, $5, $10, for a total of $16 each — that would total $4 million. That leaves $42 million unaccounted for.

On top of that, The Washington Post notes: “Donations under $200 made up just under 17 percent of Clinton’s total raised.” That means the vast majority of the Clinton campaign cash has come from bigger individual donors, or so-called “bundlers.” This clearly shows the “grassroots,” small donor claim made by campaign chairman Podesta is far from an honest representation of the truth.

Clinton also released the names of 122 fundraisers who have bundled at least $100,000 for the campaign. In all, they have raised at least $12.2 million since April 12, 2015.

The Clinton bundler list included many familiar and longtime Democratic Party fundraisers, as well as some of the Clinton’s biggest long-time donors.

And here’s what you might call “the kicker” that shows John Podesta and the Hillary political machine to be so boldly, so brazenly, so laughably hypocritical.

Despite Podesta’s self-serving claim that big, sinister, “dark money” interests are backing Republican candidates with huge donations as opposed to the little guys who’ve “chipped in $1, $5, or $10″ to the Clinton campaign coffers, Podesta’s own brother — a big-time D.C. lobbyist and well-connected Democrat backer — is reportedly backing Hillary’s White House bid with influence over wads of cash.

The Guardian discloses the revealing facts: “Another lobbyist playing an important role for Clinton is Tony Podesta, who has made millions from a family based empire and is considered one of the most influential Democratic lobbyists in the Beltway.”

The Guardian piece goes on to expose the network of fat-cat campaign donors whose power positions in Hillary Clinton’s bid for the presidency prove the email from her campaign chairman to be as phony as many would argue the candidate’s qualifying credentials to be.

The support from lobbyists [and] bundlers comes against the backdrop of Clinton and [Jeb] Bush accumulating large war chests at the expense of mainly rich donors, many of whom are connected to formidable networks of wealthy contacts built by their families over decades in frontline politics.

So much for those grassroots.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth