May 29, 2014

The Result of Austerity and Neo-Liberalism is the Rise of the Neo-Fascist Right

You can not, under the neo-liberal model of globalization, tax the rich effectively: they can go somewhere else. You cannot hold wages up, because jurisdictions can always be played against each other. You cannot fix the environment and stop the mass wiping out of species and the probable death of a billion humans, because jurisdictions can be played against each other. That countries no longer produce the majority goods they need themselves, nor in many cases even the food, means jurisdictions cannot unilterally do the right thing, even if they wanted to (which they don’t.)

Because the oligarchs also control the means of ideological dissemination, you also can’t effectively communicate either the problems or good solutions. Because the oligarchs control the means of political production (ie. the process of producing and nominating political candidates), you can’t get into power the people who would actually want to change the neo-liberal political order (and if by some miracle you could, expect them to be treated as Argentina or Venezuela have been treated or destroyed as Howard Dean was.)

Neo-liberalism is an effective ideology and set of policy prescriptions: not because it produces good outcomes for the majority of people (that’s not its purpose), but because it creates a constituency (oligarchs and their supporters/retainers) who are able to maintain it in power.

(Source: azspot)

May 25, 2014

Amazon's Tactics Confirm Its Critics' Worst Suspicions

Now Amazon is walking right into its detractors’ predictions. There are a couple obvious reasons this is a bad strategy. It’s bad public relations — if it doesn’t already, Amazon may soon control a monopolistic stake of the e-book market and its tactics are sure to invite not only scorn from the book industry but also increased regulatory oversight.

But the more basic problem here is that Amazon is violating its own code. To win a corporate battle, Amazon is ruining its customer experience. Mr. Bezos has long pointed to customer satisfaction as his North Star; making sure customers are treated well is the guiding principle for how he runs Amazon.

Now Amazon is raising prices, removing ordering buttons, lengthening shipping times and monkeying with recommendation algorithms. Do these sound like the moves of a man who cares about customers above all else?

(Source: azspot)

May 19, 2014
May 11, 2014

‘Community’ canceled

azspot:

So much for six seasons and a movie. At least not at NBC.

The self-aware meta-comedy “Community” has finally been canceled by the network after spending 5 seasons never quite getting off the bubble, despite amassing a dedicated cult following.

sixseasonsandamovie #thedarkesttimeline #ripcommunity

Well, at least we know all human civilization will be destroyed by an asteroid. And that’s canon.

May 6, 2014
It is capitalism, not government, that is the problem. The fusion of corporate and state power means that government is broken. It is little more than a protection racket for Wall Street. And it is our job to wrest government back. This will come only through the building of mass movements.
The Post-Constitutional Era (via azspot)

(via azspot)

May 5, 2014
america-wakiewakie:

Five Things They Don’t Tell You About Economics | Ha‑Joon Chang 
95% of economics is common sense. You don’t need a degree to understand it. 
We’ve got this profession wrong; a lot of professional economists think what they do is too difficult for ordinary people. You’d be surprised how often these people are stupid enough to say things, at least in private, like ‘you wouldn’t understand what I do even if I explained it to you’. If you cannot explain it to other people, you have the problem.
People express strong opinions on all sorts of things despite not having the appropriate expertise: climate change, gay marriage, the Iraq War, nuclear power stations. But when it comes to economic issues, many people are not even interested, not to speak of not having a strong opinion about them. When was the last time you had a debate on the future of the Euro, inequality in China or the American manufacturing industry, despite the fact that these issues can have a huge impact on your life, wherever you live?
Economics is not a science.
Despite what the experts want you to believe, there is more than one way of ‘doing’ economics
People have been led to believe that, like physics or chemistry, economics is a ‘science’, in which there is only one correct answer to everything; thus non-experts should simply accept the ‘professional consensus’ and stop thinking about it.
Contrary to what most economists would have you believe, there isn’t just one kind of economics – Neoclassical economics. In fact there are no less than nine different kinds, or schools, as they are often known. And none of these schools can claim superiority over others and still less monopoly over truth.
I accept that being suddenly asked to taste nine different flavours of ice cream when you had thought that there was only one plain vanilla can be quite overwhelming. In order to help, I attach here a simple table that will help you overcome your initial fear [see above photo].
Economics is politics.
Economic arguments are often justification for what politicians want to do anyway. Economics is a political argument. It is not – and can never be – a science.
Behind every economic policy and corporate action that affect our lives – the minimum wage, outsourcing, social security, food safety, pensions and whatnot – lies some economic theory that either has inspired those actions or, more frequently, is providing justification of what those in power want to do anyway.
Only when we know that there are different economic theories will we be able to tell those in power that they are wrong to tell us that ‘there is no alternative’ (TINA), as Margaret Thatcher once infamously put it in defence of her controversial policies.
Never trust an economist.
It is one thing not to foresee the financial crisis; it’s another not to have changed anything since.
Most economists were caught completely by surprise by the 2008 global financial crisis. Not only that, they have not been able to come up with decent solutions to the ongoing aftermaths of that crisis.
Given all this, economics seems to suffer from a serious case of megalomania.
The financial crisis has been a brutal reminder that we cannot leave our economy to professional economists and other ‘technocrats’. We should all get involved in its management – as active economic citizens.
We have to reclaim economics for the people It’s too important to be left to the experts alone.
You should be willing to challenge professional economists (and, yes, that includes me). They do not have a monopoly over the truth, even when it comes to economic matters.
Like many other things in life – learning to ride a bicycle, learning a new language, or learning to use your new tablet computer – being an active economic citizen gets easier over time, once you overcome the initial difficulties and keep practicing it.
Unless you are willing and able to challenge the professionals, challenge the experts, what’s the point of having a democracy?
There is no excuse for complacency. If you organize and demand reforms then a lot of amazing things happen, but it won’t come easy – we have to fight for it.

america-wakiewakie:

Five Things They Don’t Tell You About Economics | Ha‑Joon Chang 

95% of economics is common sense. You don’t need a degree to understand it. 

We’ve got this profession wrong; a lot of professional economists think what they do is too difficult for ordinary people. You’d be surprised how often these people are stupid enough to say things, at least in private, like ‘you wouldn’t understand what I do even if I explained it to you’. If you cannot explain it to other people, you have the problem.

People express strong opinions on all sorts of things despite not having the appropriate expertise: climate change, gay marriage, the Iraq War, nuclear power stations. But when it comes to economic issues, many people are not even interested, not to speak of not having a strong opinion about them. When was the last time you had a debate on the future of the Euro, inequality in China or the American manufacturing industry, despite the fact that these issues can have a huge impact on your life, wherever you live?

Economics is not a science.

Despite what the experts want you to believe, there is more than one way of ‘doing’ economics

People have been led to believe that, like physics or chemistry, economics is a ‘science’, in which there is only one correct answer to everything; thus non-experts should simply accept the ‘professional consensus’ and stop thinking about it.

Contrary to what most economists would have you believe, there isn’t just one kind of economics – Neoclassical economics. In fact there are no less than nine different kinds, or schools, as they are often known. And none of these schools can claim superiority over others and still less monopoly over truth.

I accept that being suddenly asked to taste nine different flavours of ice cream when you had thought that there was only one plain vanilla can be quite overwhelming. In order to help, I attach here a simple table that will help you overcome your initial fear [see above photo].

Economics is politics.

Economic arguments are often justification for what politicians want to do anyway. Economics is a political argument. It is not – and can never be – a science.

Behind every economic policy and corporate action that affect our lives – the minimum wage, outsourcing, social security, food safety, pensions and whatnot – lies some economic theory that either has inspired those actions or, more frequently, is providing justification of what those in power want to do anyway.

Only when we know that there are different economic theories will we be able to tell those in power that they are wrong to tell us that ‘there is no alternative’ (TINA), as Margaret Thatcher once infamously put it in defence of her controversial policies.

Never trust an economist.

It is one thing not to foresee the financial crisis; it’s another not to have changed anything since.

Most economists were caught completely by surprise by the 2008 global financial crisis. Not only that, they have not been able to come up with decent solutions to the ongoing aftermaths of that crisis.

Given all this, economics seems to suffer from a serious case of megalomania.

The financial crisis has been a brutal reminder that we cannot leave our economy to professional economists and other ‘technocrats’. We should all get involved in its management – as active economic citizens.

We have to reclaim economics for the people It’s too important to be left to the experts alone.

You should be willing to challenge professional economists (and, yes, that includes me). They do not have a monopoly over the truth, even when it comes to economic matters.

Like many other things in life – learning to ride a bicycle, learning a new language, or learning to use your new tablet computer – being an active economic citizen gets easier over time, once you overcome the initial difficulties and keep practicing it.

Unless you are willing and able to challenge the professionals, challenge the experts, what’s the point of having a democracy?

There is no excuse for complacency. If you organize and demand reforms then a lot of amazing things happen, but it won’t come easy – we have to fight for it.

(via satanic-capitalist)

May 3, 2014
Apr 27, 2014

Walmart Admits: 'Our Profits' Depend on 'Their Poverty'

However, this report is the first public acknowledgement of the chain’s reliance on the funding of these programs to sustain a profit.

According to Stacy Mitchell, senior researcher with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, the irony of their admission is that Walmart “is the company that has done, perhaps, more than any other corporation to push people into poverty.”

Citing a Penn State study, Mitchell told Common Dreams that research has proven that “when Walmart opens a store, poverty rates are negatively impacted” and that the more stores that have opened in a particular county, the worse it is. “This is a company that everywhere it goes it creates poverty.”

In addition to their own worker’s low wages, Mitchell explains that Walmart, because of their enormous size and market power, have “held down wages for the whole sector.”

(Source: azspot)

Apr 27, 2014
Billions of dollars’ worth of military weapons and equipment is available to local police departments through grant programs administered by federal agencies such as the Departments of Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security. Until now, this has gone on with very little public oversight. Too little has been known about how much military equipment law enforcement agencies have, why they have it, and how they are using it.
Community Police Armed with the Weapons and Tactics of War (via azspot)

(via azspot)

Apr 15, 2014
A study, to appear in the Fall 2014 issue of the academic journal Perspectives on Politics, finds that the U.S. is no democracy, but instead an oligarchy, meaning profoundly corrupt, so that the answer to the study’s opening question, ‘Who governs? Who really rules?’ in this country, is:
 
‘Despite the seemingly strong empirical support in previous studies for theories of majoritarian democracy, our analyses suggest that majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts. Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association, and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But…’ and then they go on to say, it’s not true, and that, ‘America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened’ by the findings in this, the first-ever comprehensive scientific study of the subject, which shows that there is instead ‘the nearly total failure of ‘median voter’ and other Majoritarian Electoral Democracy theories [of America]. When the preferences of economic elites and the stands of organized interest groups are controlled for, the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.’
 
To put it short: the United States is no democracy, but actually an oligarchy.
US Is An Oligarchy, Not A Democracy, Says Scientific Study | Common Dreams. (via universalequalityisinevitable)

(via universalequalityisinevitable)

Apr 6, 2014
But it was also clear that an all-round increase in wealth threatened the destruction — indeed, in some sense was the destruction — of a hierarchical society. In a world in which everyone worked short hours, had enough to eat, lived in a house with a bathroom and a refrigerator, and possessed a motor-car or even an aeroplane, the most obvious and perhaps the most important form of inequality would already have disappeared. If it once became general, wealth would confer no distinction. It was possible, no doubt, to imagine a society in which WEALTH, in the sense of personal possessions and luxuries, should be evenly distributed, while POWER remained in the hands of a small privileged caste. But in practice such a society could not long remain stable. For if leisure and security were enjoyed by all alike, the great mass of human beings who are normally stupefied by poverty would become literate and would learn to think for themselves; and when once they had done this, they would sooner or later realize that the privileged minority had no function, and they would sweep it away. In the long run, a hierarchical society was only possible on a basis of poverty and ignorance.
George Orwell (via azspot)

(via azspot)

Apr 5, 2014
America has a problem. And it isn’t a gun problem. Guns are merely instruments or tools- nothing more. The problem America has is deeper than just the availability of guns. America has a sickness in its soul. A sickness driven by self interest, selfishness, self aggrandizement, and greed.
It’s Just Another Day In America… (via azspot)

(via cognitivedissonance)

Mar 23, 2014

redplebeian:

Shit does not just happen: An introduction to Historical Materialism

(via satanic-capitalist)

Mar 22, 2014
ecowatchorg:

Interstate Pipeline Spills 10,000 Gallons of Crude Oil Into Ohio Nature Preserve 
READ MORE on EcoWatch: http://ecowatch.com/2014/03/19/pipeline-spills-crude-oil-ohio/ 

ecowatchorg:

Interstate Pipeline Spills 10,000 Gallons of Crude Oil Into Ohio Nature Preserve

READ MORE on EcoWatch: http://ecowatch.com/2014/03/19/pipeline-spills-crude-oil-ohio/ 

(via satanic-capitalist)

Mar 21, 2014
First…. Many Indigenous Nations have calendars which have
been counting the years for a very long time. I am aware that
the calendar of the Mohawk Indian Nation has been counting
the winters for over 33,120 years. This pre-dates the so-called
‘land-bridge’ of the Bering Strait theory, unless, of course, the
Bering Strait scientists decide to move their interestingly illusive
time period for “early migration” of Indians back to 40,000 years!
Many American Indian early histories tell of events that took
place on this Turtle continent (North America) long before any
so-called ice age. But, for political reasons, these histories
have been mostly ignored. You see, the Bering Strait, in truth,
is a theory that was born of the politics and propaganda of
early America. In the midst of the American ‘Manifest Destiny’
social climate, the Bering Strait theory provided a ‘scientific’
means to justify the taking of ancestral Indian lands. In short,
the mythical theory eased the conscience, as it was a way for
land hungry immigrants to believe that, because Indian people
were only ‘recent inhabitants’ of this land , it was not really their
‘homeland’. Therefore Indians were, in their minds, not any more
the ‘original people’ of this land than they were. This was, and
still is, the political power of the infamous ‘Bering Strait theory’.

The B.S. (Bering Strait) Myth
By John Two-Hawks

The Bering Strait Theory was made to make colonialism seem less like exploitation.

(via fwoosh2)

I cannot reblog this enough! my thoughts exactly.

(via karonhiake)

Actually there is good genetic evidence to support the Bering Strait theory: source 1, source 2, source 3, source 4 and source 5.

(Source: nativecircle.com, via cognitivedissonance)

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