Republicans will use the term “personal responsibility” to tell those with no hope that they’re on their own. That they should have planned better—worked harder—not lived in a flood zone. Had better insurance. Had savings. You get the picture. It’s not the government’s job to save you from yourself. That’s what we pay the police and fire departments for. (Cough.) And Republicans believe corporations are people. So how about corporations live up to the GOP’s panacea of personal responsibility when it comes to poverty? Republicans are looking for market-based solutions to poverty. Let’s look at poverty’s market-based roots: Of the 48 million Americans living below the poverty line, 16 million are children and 10.5 million are the working impoverished. Meaning they are not lazy, drug-addicted parasites—they work. The issue is their jobs don’t pay them enough. Corporations employing the working impoverished have decided, as a means of policy, their workers don’t need to earn enough to take care of their families—the government will step up. You want a picture of a Welfare Queen? Get a portrait of any of the Walmart heirs.
When West Virginia inspectors arrived at Freedom Industries late Thursday morning, they discovered that the company had taken “no spill containment measures” to combat the chemical spill that has put drinking water supplies off-limits for hundreds of thousands of residents.
Abby Martin calls out the corporate media’s coverage of Chris Christie and ‘Bridgegate’ and discusses how this is distracting from Congress sneaking through new legislation that would give Obama authority to fast track the controversial Trans Pacific Partnership.
And contrary to green capitalism proponents, across the spectrum from resource extraction to manufacturing, the practical possibilities for “greening” and “dematerializing” production are severely limited. This means the only way to prevent overshoot and collapse is to enforce a massive economic contraction in the industrialized economies, retrenching production across a broad range of unnecessary, resource-hogging, wasteful and polluting industries, even virtually shutting down the worst. Yet this option is foreclosed under capitalism because this is not socialism: No one is promising new jobs to unemployed coal miners, oil drillers, automakers, airline pilots, chemists, plastic junk makers and others whose jobs would be lost because their industries would have to be retrenched - and unemployed workers don’t pay taxes. So CEOs, workers and governments find that they all “need” to maximize growth, overconsumption, even pollution, to destroy their children’s tomorrows to hang onto their jobs today. If they don’t, the system falls into crisis, or worse. So we’re all on board the TGV of ravenous and ever-growing plunder and pollution. As our locomotive races toward the cliff of ecological collapse, the only thoughts on the minds of our CEOs, capitalist economists, politicians and most labor leaders is how to stoke the locomotive to get us there faster. Corporations aren’t necessarily evil. They just can’t help themselves. They’re doing what they’re supposed to do for the benefit of their owners. But this means that, so long as the global economy is based on capitalism and private property and corporate property and competitive production for market, we’re doomed to a collective social suicide - and no amount of tinkering with the market can brake the drive to global ecological collapse. We can’t shop our way to sustainability, because the problems we face cannot be solved by individual choices in the marketplace. They require collective democratic control over the economy to prioritize the needs of society and the environment. And they require local, reigional, national and international economic planning to reorganize the economy and redeploy labor and resources to these ends. I conclude, therefore, that if humanity is to save itself, we have no choice but to overthrow capitalism and replace it with a democratically planned eco-socialist economy.
Use that word.
Canadian conservatives close public environmental libraries. Burn 100s of years of environmental data, books, and public records.
Many collections such as the Maurice Lamontagne Institute Library in Mont-Joli, Quebec ended up in dumpsters while others such as Winnipeg’s historic Freshwater Institute library were scavenged by citizens, scientists and local environmental consultants. Others were burned or went to landfills, say scientists.
A few years ago, back when I was devoting much of my energy to developing semantic journalism products that seriously interested absolutely no one in the newspaper industry, there was one thought that could jolt me right out of any…
Google is using its popular Gmail service to build psychological profiles on the hundreds of millions of people who use it.
5 of the Worst High-Profile Attacks on Atheism This Year: How Oprah, Time Mag and Scalia Sold Nonbelievers Short
America’s most famous TV personality suggests atheists lack an emotional connection to the universe.
Tyler Cowen, the libertarian economist It Guy of the moment, writes in his book Average is Over and in a Time magazine essay that the middle class is pretty much toast. A radical hollowing out will leave some at the top and most in the bottom (which doesn’t mean they can’t be happy).
With some worthy exceptions (Brad DeLong, Paul Krugman, et al), our thinkers tell us we are powerless against the forces that have been reshaping America.
This is nonsense.
Raise taxes on the richest Americans, back to around 70 percent, and close loopholes. Impose taxes on carbon and Wall Street transactions. Begin a robust antitrust regimen that not only stops job-killing, anti-competitive mergers but breaks up such highly concentrated industries as banking, airlines, fossil fuels, broadcasting, etc.
Change the tax code so that it penalizes destructive economic behavior (e.g. tax-free mergers, stratospheric executive compensation and gambling in the derivatives markets). Enact a 21st century Glass Steagall that applies to the shadow banking system as well.
Outlaw the influence-peddling in D.C. (i.e. "lobbying"). Pass a constitutional amendment if necessary to roll back Citizens United, a first step to getting corporate and oligarch money out of politics.
Make it easier to unionize through card check. Make union-busting corporations think twice by moving laws and regulations protecting unions and workers more into the balance where they once stood.
Create an American version of Chinese mercantilism. Time for us to stop being the world punching bag thanks to bad trade deals. For most of the history of the republic, tariffs were an essential part of policy. Republicans wanted higher duties, Democrats lower. But the idea of no tariffs is a relatively new conceit, one that has helped destroy the blue-collar middle class. Time to reverse course. Let the WTO argue about it for decades.
Today in many places we hear a call for greater security. But until exclusion and inequality in society and between peoples are reversed, it will be impossible to eliminate violence. The poor and the poorer peoples are accused of violence, yet without equal opportunities the different forms of aggression and conflict will find a fertile terrain for growth and eventually explode. When a society—whether local, national, or global—is willing to leave a part of itself on the fringes, no political programs or resources spent on law enforcement or surveillance systems can indefinitely guarantee tranquility. This is not the case simply because inequality provokes a violent reaction from those excluded from the system, but because the socioeconomic system is unjust at its root. Just as goodness tends to spread, the toleration of evil, which is injustice, tends to expand its baneful influence and quietly undermine any political and social system, no matter how solid it may appear. If every action has its consequences, an evil embedded in the structures of a society has a constant potential for disintegration and death. It is evil crystallized in unjust social structures, which cannot be the base of hope for a better future. We are far from the so-called ‘end of history,’ since the conditions for a sustainable and peaceful development have not yet been adequately articulated and realized.
But unmet needs debase people. Satisfying necessities is a precondition for self-determination and self-governance; for moving us beyond our most primordial needs. In injecting insecurity, anxiety, and circumspection into our lives, economic dependency saps us of our ability to lead dignified, autonomous existences. People are forced to grovel to get by, to accept whatever job they can find or stay in abusive relationships to stay afloat financially. Far from inducing dependency, the welfare state brings substance to the purely formal rights of the law. It makes life a little less cruel, a little less insecure. And reducing that cruelty is, without question, our entitlement.
How economic security was destroyed.